A mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol building Wednesday afternoon, abruptly halting a session of Congress that was supposed to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Just hours after Trump encouraged the crowd at a rally to “take our country back” and his lawyer Rudy Guiliani suggested “trial by combat,” hundreds of people clad in Trump gear, some carrying Confederate flags, climbed the steps of the building, breached barricades, broke windows, and entered the halls of the Capitol — an insurrection that threatened the lives of lawmakers inside.
Two hours later, Trump posted a video to Twitter stating that while the election was stolen, “you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our people in law and order.”
But it was too late. Moments before Trump’s statement, one person was shot and later died, according to DC Emergency Medical Services, with at least five others being transported to the hospital. And uprisings had already spread to other parts of the country.
In conjunction with the Senate certification vote, protests were planned in cities across the country on Wednesday, in which organizers planned to “stop the steal” and contest the fact that Joe Biden won the presidential election. Though many protests remained peaceful, some turned odd, and others violent.
Pro-Trump rioters in Arizona gathered by the hundreds to demonstrate anger and deny the election results. They could be seen in videos banging on the locked doors of the state capitol building in Phoenix. The group struck on the window until the glass fractured.
Another group brought a guillotine to the gathering, which they explained in a letter obtained by the Arizona Republic. The letter contained misinformation about the election outcome and voter fraud and expressed their feelings toward a potential war:
“You may ask why we are here, why do we have a guillotine with us? The answer is simple,” the document read. “For six weeks Americans have written emails, gathered peacefully, made phone calls and begged their elected officials to listen to their concerns. We have been ignored, ridiculed, scorned, dismissed, lied to, laughed at and essentially told, No Ones Cares.”
“Let it be known, if the Constitution, our way of life, and the Freedoms that we hold so dear are threatened by internal or external enemies, we will rise to the challenge and defend this great nation by all means necessary. While we pray for Peace, but we do not fear war.”
Demonstrators moved into the Kansas Statehouse on Wednesday afternoon after hundreds of people demonstrated outside the building earlier in the day. According to local news outlets WBIW and KSNT, protesters had permits and followed protocols as they contested the count of electoral votes in Washington, DC.
At the Texas Capitol, hundreds of pro-Trump demonstrators gathered as the insurrection broke out in Washington. Officials were quick to shut down the building and surrounding complex to “maintain public order and address public threats,” according to the state’s department of public safety.
Trump supporters gather outside the Texas Capitol building grounds, which closed this afternoon after news broke that a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol as the senate met to certify Joe Biden as president. pic.twitter.com/xCSThCICix
— Lynda M. González (@lyndamgonzalez) January 6, 2021
In Florida, about 150 Trump supporters, including dozens of Proud Boys, rallied outside the state’s capitol in support of the “Stop the Steal” movement. One publication described the gathering as tame, with protesters praying together as early as 8 am. By afternoon, the large crowd broke off into smaller groups.
In Oregon — where unrest continued for months in 2020 after the police killing of George Floyd, and federal agents abducted protesters in unmarked vehicles and counterprotesters escalated tensions — officials made the decision to close the capitol building to public and staff all day Wednesday. In the afternoon, hundreds of protesters marched around the capitol in Salem to contest the election and dispute the state’s coronavirus regulations. The crowd even burned an effigy of Gov. Kate Brown, according to Oregon Live. Just two weeks ago, about 50 people, including Patriot Prayer members, reportedly pepper-sprayed a line of officers and broke into Oregon’s capitol in protest over coronavirus restrictions.
Just a day after Georgia held its runoff elections — with Democrats winning control of the Senate — senior staffers, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, were escorted out of the state capitol building as a group of demonstrators rallied outside. Tensions rose after the insurrection in DC unfolded.
In Sacramento, Trump supporters, including right-wing militia group the Three Percenters and the far-right street-fighting group the Proud Boys, confronted counterprotesters. Groups rallied around the state capitol giving speeches that denied the results of the presidential election and cursed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus rules. The Sacramento police announced on Twitter that they arrested individuals carrying pepper spray.
Covering the MAGA rally at the California Capitol.
Trump supporters, Proud Boys, 3%ers, Recall Gavin folks.
Follow this thread for updates. pic.twitter.com/u6XFE0dsW6
— Scott Rodd (@SRodd_CPR) January 6, 2021
Outside the New York Capitol in Albany, where Gov. Cuomo was delivering an address about his coronavirus plan, two people were taken to the hospital and one person was taken into custody in connection with a stabbing. Law enforcement told reporters that the violence stemmed from a protest that was underway just outside the state capitol.
At least three rallies were planned in Olympia, Washington, where rallygoers protested the election results. At the capitol building, Patriot Prayer members made speeches about the need to “speak truth” and carried flags that read “Trump is our President.” When one participant announced that the US Capitol had been breached, people cheered and he claimed “It’s war now!” according to the Olympian.
Denver officials closed offices early as a precaution, and state police suited up in riot gear.
I’m at the protest at the Colorado capitol. State patrol in riot gear stationed about half a block away. Several hundred people here. Very, very few are masked. pic.twitter.com/rmweD8rEyU
— Elise Schmelzer (@EliseSchmelzer) January 6, 2021
In other parts of the country, capitol grounds were quiet. In Pennsylvania, rallies to stop the certification of the 2020 election largely took place on Monday.
After Trump told the DC mob in his video address to go home, he did what he often does and fanned the flames of his supporters: “We love you. You’re very special,” he said.