Chaos at the Capitol

What started as a rally to prevent the certification of the 2020 election results turned into a storming of the Capitol Building. For many weeks prior to January 6, 2021, the day of the riots, President Trump was urging his supporters to go to Washington and put a stop to the certification of the election results. 

Supporters were at first peaceful, but began to show force as they harassed officers and eventually breached the buildings’ outer perimeter. Officers were forced further and further towards the Senate chamber, and the gap between the rioters and senators closed rapidly.

At around 2:00 PM, close to two hours after the riots began, protesters broke into the building and forced their way toward the Senate chamber, where the meeting for President Elect Biden’s certification was in progress. Members of Congress had to shelter in place while the riots continued within and outside the Capitol. 

As the hours progressed, the rioters became increasingly violent, beating officers and setting foot inside the private offices of the Capitol. The National Guard arrived approximately five hours after the riots began, and were able to secure the Capitol. The members of Congress continued President Elect Biden’s certification, and officially certified him at 3:40 A.M. the next morning.

Following the riots, a citywide curfew was put in place from 6:00 P.M. until 6:00 A.M the following day. To ensure the safety of those inside the Capitol, mayor Muriel E. Bowser issued an order extending the city’s public state of emergency for 15 days. He warned that extremist supporters in favor of President Trump would likely return to the Capitol, especially because President Elect Biden’s inauguration was close to follow in the coming weeks.

Due to the day’s events, companies including Twitter and Facebook permanently suspended the President’s accounts in order to prevent future violence. Additionally, Twitter removed President Trump’s tweets, which repeated his false claims of election fraud and expressed sympathy and appraisal for his followers who had forced their way into the Capitol. Many senators have since recognized that the violence occurring that Wednesday was incited by the President. President Trump’s actions have led to a call for his impeachment, just fourteen days before President Elect Biden’s inauguration.