Supporters of President Donald Trump—including far-right groups such as the Proud Boys—stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as Congress began certifying electoral votes.
Shortly following Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, where he incited supporters with a barrage of disinformation and urged them to march on the Capitol, hundreds of protesters broke through police barriers and eventually breached the complex grounds and the Capitol itself.
Vice-President Mike Pence was ushered away from the House Chamber floor, and videos from inside the Capitol showed Trump supporters gathering inside Statuary Hall. One video showed Trump supporters taking selfies with police officers inside the Capitol. The attempted sedition interrupted Congress as Republican lawmakers tried to challenge the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
Among those who broke into the Capitol was neo-Nazi streamer Tim Gionet, better known by his online moniker Baked Alaska, who livestreamed himself occupying a Senate office while shouting “fuck globalists,” a dog whistle used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists to refer to the baseless conspiracy theory that Jewish people run the world. The neo-Nazi livestreamer also shouted “I told you to trust the plan,” which is a reference to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Trump supporters gathered outside the Capitol, some waving Confederate, “Don’t Tread on Me,” and Blue Lives Matter flags, while others took photos and celebrated the attempted insurrection as smoke filled the air.
“Nobody is going to jail today because we the people have spoken,” shouted one protester through a megaphone. “We the people have spoken.”
There are also reports that several “suspicious devices” have been found outside the Capitol Building.
Several far-right activists and groups have spent the past few months threatening violence and civil war if Trump was not re-elected. During a pro-Trump rally in November, a speaker praised the Proud Boys’ use of violence while threatening that if the United States “want a second civil war, they got one!” Speakers at yesterday’s pro-Trump rally invoked 1776 and threatened an “uprising” if Trump was not re-elected. Some of the people in attendance led chants of “victory or death.” Pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood repeatedly declaredthat the U.S. is “headed to civil war” because “Communist China is leading the nefarious efforts to take away our freedom.”
Despite the attempted insurrection, Trump tweeted at 3:13 p.m. EST asking for protesters to remain “peaceful.”
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,” Trump tweeted. “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law and Order—respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a citywide curfew for the District of Columbia from 6:00pm on Wednesday until 6:00am on Thursday, Jan. 7. Mayor Bowser and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also requested assistance from the National Guard but were denied by the Defence Department, which is under Trump’s control.