Rabu, 06 Januari 2021

How a Donald Trump rally transformed Washington DC and Capitol Hill into a riot zone - ABC News

On the day the US election results were to be certified by Congress, Donald Trump supporters have forced their way into the Capitol building.

The rioters breached a threshold that had not been crossed in more than 200 years and disrupted the American democratic process.

Some are describing the events in the US overnight as an attempted coup, others are asking why the full power of US security forces did not immediately halt the group.

This is how the day escalated from a sitting of Congress to a city-wide lockdown.

It began with a Trump rally in Washington DC

In the last throes of his presidency, Mr Trump continued to falsely claim the election was fraudulent and rallied his supporters to "stop the steal".

He spoke to a "Save America" rally on Wednesday (local time) urging Vice-President Mike Pence to overturn the election result, something that is not legally possible.

"If Mike Pence does the right thing we win the election."

People attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally," January 6 2021.
People attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally".(AP: Jacquelyn Martin)

Pence refuses to meet Trump's demands

But when Mr Trump's once-loyal VP arrived at the Capitol ahead of Congress sitting, he released a statement saying he could not intervene.

"It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not," Mr Pence said.

Mr Trump then tweeted:

That tweet was flagged by Twitter as inciting violence and has since been deleted.

As Trump rally ends, protesters head towards the Capitol

By early afternoon, Mr Trump's supporters reportedly moved from the rally site, up Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol building.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier on the US Capitol
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier outside the Capitol in Washington DC.(AP: Julio Cortez)
Trump supporters pull a police barrier from all sides as they try to break through a police line.
Protesters eventually overwhelmed security forces and stormed the building.(AP: John Minchillo)

Mr Trump's voters are a diverse group, but this gathering was attended by his most extreme supporters, reportedly including armed members of militia group the Proud Boys.

US media is reporting online forums for far-right groups have been filled with threats of violence in the lead-up to the rally.


Congress meets to certify election results

Meanwhile, the US Congress began a joint session to count the electoral college votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

The electoral vote count was supposed to be procedural with the result already known — Mr Biden has 306 votes, Mr Trump has 232.

It was supposed to be boring.

Another Republican who once backed Mr Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said the will of the American people should not be overridden by Congress.

"If we overrule them, we will damage our republic forever," he said.

It was about that time when things at the Capitol transformed from boring to explosive.

Trump mob storms Capitol building

Trump supporters arrived at Capitol grounds and several buildings were evacuated as they stormed past barricades.

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Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 25 seconds
Protesters breach Capitol building and make their way to the Senate chamber.

The joint-session was recessed and the Capitol was placed into lockdown.

At this point, the Trump supporters had disrupted the democratic process, forcing America's political leaders to suspend the certification of the country's next president.

By mid-afternoon (local time) members of Congress were tweeting about being evacuated to secure locations where they are likely to remain overnight.

Women wearing gas masks and face masks in the House Chamber at the US Capitol.
People in the House gallery wore gas masks as protesters broke into the House Chamber.(AP: Andrew Harnik)

Photos, videos emerge of Trump supporters in chambers

Until about 4:00pm (local time) the Capitol appeared to be in a state of mass confusion, with many commentators saying the Capitol Police were unprepared for the violence.

The pro-Trump rioters were able to breach the Senate chamber and sit in the chair of the presiding officer.

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Protesters interrupt Senate election debate

They were also able to enter the House of Representatives chamber and sit in the speaker's chair.

Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the US Capitol
Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the US Capitol.(AP: J Scott Applewhite)

By 4:00pm (local time) US media were reporting the National Guard had been mobilised.

The Washington DC Mayor also ordered a 6:00pm curfew for the city.

Woman fatally shot in chaos

In circumstances that are still unclear, a woman was shot as the Trump mob stormed the Capitol building.

Washington DC police has since reported the woman died.

Twitter locks out Trump after video post

As violence continued across the Capitol campus, Mr Trump posted a video on Twitter and in it he spoke directly to his supporters involved in the violence.

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Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 2 seconds
Donald Trump calls for peace as protesters overrun police

Again, Twitter flagged the President's tweet and disabled the ability to like, retweet or share it.

The video was subsequently deleted by Twitter, and was also pulled by Facebook and YouTube.

Twitter then announced it had locked Mr Trump's account for the first time, blocking him from using the service for 12 hours.

Curfew comes into effect


As 6:00pm (local time) rolled around, police were using tear gas to disperse protesters still on the streets of Washington DC.

It was about this time when officials reported the US Capitol building was secure, but people had remained on its perimeter.


Electoral College count resumes once order restored

As former presidents condemned the events of the day and Democrats called for Mr Trump to be impeached for inciting the day's violence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement saying the certification process would continue once the Capitol "was cleared for use".

The electoral college count will resume overnight in the US, but not before a series of speeches from senators, reflecting on what just happened.

Mr Pence issued some of his most forceful comments yet.

"We grieve the loss of life in these hallowed halls, as well as the injuries suffered by those who defended our Capitol today, and we will always be grateful to the men and women who stayed at their post, to defend this historic place," he said.

Fellow Republican Mr McConnell added his condemnation.

"I want to say to the American people, the United States Senate will not be intimidated," he said. "We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats.

"We will not bow to the lawlessness or intimidation. We will [be] back at our post.


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2021-01-07 01:14:00Z

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