Trump Accused Of ’Coup’ As Mob Storms US Capitol, 4 Dead In Violence

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Trump Accused Of ’Coup’ As Mob Storms US Capitol, 4 Dead In Violence

US Capitol Violence: The demonstrations flared as lawmakers met inside to formally certify Biden’s victory over Trump in the November 3 election.

Washington, United States: Four people died, including one woman who was shot by a police officer, amid protests and rioting on Capitol Hill by supporters of Donald Trump who swarmed inside the building amid a session of Congress to certify Joe Biden’s election win, triggering unprecedented chaos and violence at the heart of American democracy and accusations the outgoing president was attempting a coup.

In a late-night news conference, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J Contee said that 52 were arrested over the violence that saw pro-Trump rioters breaking windows, climbing on rafters, ripping down U.S. flags and roaming the Senate chamber. Lawmakers were told to grab gas masks as police deployed tear gas inside the Rotunda, the ornate area under the dome that connects the House and the Senate, according to the Washington Post.

Both the House and Senate and the entire Capitol were placed under a lockdown. Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers were evacuated to safe locations.

Security forces fired tear gas in a four-hour operation to clear the Capitol.

Vowing not to be deterred, lawmakers resumed business after dark and voted down the first challenge to Biden’s win, with several Trump loyalists reversing course in the wake of the violence that drew shock around the world.

The chaos at the Capitol came a day after Biden enjoyed a new triumph, with his Democrats projected to win two Senate seats in runoffs in Georgia -- handing the party full control of Congress and dramatically increasing Biden’s ability to pass legislation, starting with new Covid-19 relief.

Historians said it was the first time that the Capitol had been taken over since 1814 when the British burned it during the War of 1812.

Trump has only two weeks left in office but, with little on his public schedule for weeks and multiple reports he is losing his grip on reality, several news reports said his cabinet was whispering about removing him as unfit for office under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

"President Trump’s willingness to incite violence and social unrest to overturn the election results by force clearly meet this standard," all Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence.

In an angry, rambling speech outside the White House before the violence, Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and demanded that Pence, who ceremonially led the session, intervene to reverse their loss.

But Pence -- dutifully loyal to Trump for four years and quiet since the election -- said in a last-minute statement that he did not believe he had authority to intervene.

Thousands of Trump supporters headed to Washington at his urging in recent days, with downtown businesses boarding up in fear of violence and Mayor Muriel Bowser ordering a curfew Wednesday night.

"I can’t say I respect our election process anymore," said Gail Shaw, 76, who drove down from New Jersey. "We will take our nation back."

US Lawmakers Went To Underground Tunnel As Pro-Trump Mob Stormed Capitol

Lawmakers who were in the chamber were now told to stay in place but be prepared to evacuate. All doors were locked.

At first, the disruption surrounding the Capitol seemed like a curiosity at best, a nuisance at worst. Thousands of pro-Trump protesters were pushing into the East Front of the Capitol grounds, past barricades, some waving Trump flags, some American flags.

But the situation quickly turned grave, with security officials inside the House of Representatives chamber warning that "lots of people" had broken past a perimeter that had been set up.

"Hold the line and make sure we secure the building," Paul Irving, the House sergeant at arms, could be heard saying into his phone.

Whoever he was talking to, it didn’t work. Within minutes, word came that Vice President Mike Pence was leaving the Senate chamber where lawmakers were debating a Republican objection to accepting Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

Protesters could be seen climbing the stairs of the Rotunda, a central domed structure that connects the House and Senate. The group grew in number, as officers ran to the Rotunda. Officers ordered anyone in the halls into their secure offices.

For reporters, that meant the House chamber. But once there, nothing seemed secure.

Lawmakers who were in the chamber were now told to stay in place but be prepared to evacuate. All doors were locked.

"Everyone sit down, stay calm," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s floor director, Keith Stern, said. House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern told colleagues to stay put for more instructions. A deputy sergeant at arms said everyone needed to sit tight.

"We now have individuals who are in the Capitol rotunda area," said another official.

Then came an even more worrying development: an announcement that some sort of gas had been released into the Capitol rotunda and members were told to grab gas masks stored underneath their seats.

"Call your friend! Call Trump," Representative Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, shouted to Republicans.

Several sharp bangs were heard as protesters tried to get into the chamber. Police blocked the main door -- through which the president usually enters on his way to delivering State of the Union and other speeches -- with a piece of furniture.

Glass panes were shattered in the door and Capitol police officers drew their firearms pointing them at door.

Representative Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota, stood and shouted as doors were being bolted. "This is because of you!" pointing at the GOP side.

Other officers ran onto the floor, and began yelling at the lawmakers to form line and exit the chamber. But some members and reporters were left on the second floor gallery.

Lawmakers ran upstairs and began ushering the members out a side door, and down a staircase to an underground tunnel, on the way to a secure office building.

But as members were leaving, they could see individuals spread eagle on the third floor of the House chamber, under the control of officers in riot gear and apparent semi-automatic weapons.

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