Supporters of US President Donald Trump Wednesday breached the Capitol, where lawmakers were meeting to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s poll win.
In dramatic scenes, demonstrators swarmed near the building, as Congress members were escorted out by police.
The protests interrupted Congress as Republican lawmakers mounted their first official challenge to the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election win, objecting to state results from Arizona as they took up Trump’s relentless effort to overturn the election results in an extraordinary joint session of Congress.
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence was pulled from the House Chamber floor as protesters stormed the Capitol building.
Video footage emerged showing protesters inside the building being escorted by security as the Capitol building entered a lockdown.
Earlier, Trump had urged the massive crowd of protesters to march towards the Capitol, vowing he would “never concede” to Biden.
joint session of Congress had been counting and confirming electoral college votes.
Proceedings are usually brief and ceremonial but Republican lawmakers are objecting to some results.
For days Trump has also been putting pressure on Vice-President Mike Pence, who had been presiding over the session, to block certification of the result.
But in a letter to Congress on Wednesday, Pence said that he had no “unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted”.
The protesters arrived at the Capitol from a “Save America Rally”, where Trump had urged them to support those legislators opposing Biden’s confirmation.
Trump has refused to concede the 3 November election, repeatedly alleging fraud without providing any evidence.
On Wednesday, he said again: “We will never give up. We will never concede.”
He has also tried to throw doubt on the integrity of Tuesday’s Senate run-off votes in the southern, traditionally Republican, state of Georgia. Projections by US TV networks suggest the Democrats have won one of the seats and are neck-and-neck for the second seat.
If the Democrats win both they will gain effective control of the Senate – something that will help Biden push forward his agenda after he is inaugurated as president on 20 January.