Police officers inside the U.S. Capitol drew their guns in an unsuccessful effort to keep protesters of out of the building’s hallows House and Senate floors, as members attempted to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Pictures have flooded social media of plainclothes officers with the guns pointed outside small broken windows on the doors to one of the chamber floors. A woman was reportedly shot in the chest in the melee.
A large group of protesters from a nearby “Stop the Steal” rally protesting the certification of the 2020 election initially stormed the Capitol steps, pushing back a line of police officers and celebrating on the steps with songs, chants and flag-waving.
Another group of protesters, meanwhile, breached the Capitol itself, invading the House and Senate chambers and facing off against Capitol police wielding guns in what was, at least initially, a vain attempt to halt the chaos unfolding on congressional property.
As the situation escalated, President Donald Trump attempted to urge calm among protesters. “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” he tweeted. “They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,” he said later. “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Unconfirmed reports circulated earlier of one protester possibly having been shot by police. Tear gas and pepper spray were also reportedly deployed against the crowd.