2021 United States Capitol storming
|“||What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent — it was disorder. They weren’t protestors — they were rioters, insurrectionists, and domestic terrorists. I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming, but that isn’t true. We could.||„|
|~ President-elect Joe Biden discusses the event.|
The 2021 United States Capitol storming was a riot that occurred in Washington D.C. on January 6 2021. During the riot the US Capitol building was stormed by a mob of hundreds of supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump in an attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 election, in which the Democratic candidate Joe Biden won over Trump by 74 votes. The riots were incited by comments made by Trump in which he repeatedly alleged widespread voter fraud during the election, despite little to no substantiated evidence.
The riot was perpetrated by supporters of the Stop the Steal movement, a campaign to overturn the result of the election on the basis of voter fraud. The conspiracy theorist cult QAnon were also present, as were the Alt-Right group the Proud Boys and several people bearing Neo-Nazi and white nationalist emblems such as swastikas and Confederate flags. The attack was reportedly planned on various "Alt-tech" platforms such as TheDonald.win, Parler and Telegram. The group Stop the Steal had also posted about their intention to occupy the Capitol and "escalate" if opposed by law enforcement.
On January 5, thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Freedom Plaza in anticipation of protests, although several were arrested for illegally carrying weapons. The following day a "Save America" rally was held, during which Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Rudy Giuliani all gave speeches attacking Congress and the Electoral College. During the rally, hundreds of participants, many of whom were adherents to QAnon and the Proud Boys, left and advanced on the Capitol building, where the final vote on whether to certify Joe Biden's victory was taking place. Barriers were set up to keep the crowds away.
At 2:15 pm, the barriers were breached and Capitol security advised members of Congress to take cover. Several nearby buildings were evacuated as the Capitol building was overrun by rioters. Police and Capitol security were quickly overwhelmed, with several rioters spaying chemical agents at them. Rioters charged through the building smashing windows and wrecking Democratic senators offices. Outside a gallows was erected, police cars were smashed and the mob began chanting the slogan "Pelosi is Satan!" in reference to Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and most of the protesters chanting "Hang Mike Pence!", antagonizing Pence as a traitor.
At 2:20 pm the Senate chamber was locked down; at 2:30 it was evacuated and was subsequently taken over by rioters. At this point police deployed tear gas to suppress the rioters. Armed police were then able to re-secure the Capitol. The military and the National Guard subsequently established a cordon round the building, and at 3:41 am the next day Biden's victory was confirmed by Congress.
Five people were killed during the riots; one rioter shot by police, three protestors who were fatally injured in the crush and police officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was supposedly bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher by rioters (although it is now believed that he fell ill after being pepper-sprayed). A further 61 people were injured, and at least 80 rioters were arrested on various charges, including seditious conspiracy and rioting. A domestic terrorism investigation is ongoing after explosives were found on the Capitol grounds after the fact.
As a result of the riots, Donald Trump was impeached for incitement to insurrection (thus becoming the first American President to be impeached twice.) He was acquitted by the Senate on February 13, 2021 on a vote of 57-43. Seven Republican senators considered Trump guilty, while some that voted not guilty chastised Trump.