U.S Police disperse pro Trump protesters with tear gas
Police in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday responded with drawn guns and tear gas as swarms of protesters stormed in and sought to force Congress to undo President Donald Trump’s election loss shortly after some of Trump’s fellow Republicans launched a last-ditch effort to throw out the results.
Police evacuated the House of Representatives and the Senate after pro-Trump protesters marched through the halls of Congress, forcing both chambers to suspend deliberations as they were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November 3 election.
Video showed police deploying tear gas inside the building.
The chaotic scenes unfolded after Trump, due to leave office on January 20, addressed thousands of protesters, repeating false claims that the election was stolen from him due to widespread election fraud and irregularities.
Lawmakers had been debating a last-ditch effort by pro-Trump lawmakers to challenge the results, an effort that was unlikely to succeed.
Vice President Mike Pence, who had presided over the joint session of Congress, was escorted from the Senate.
Capitol Police told lawmakers in the House chamber to take gas masks from beneath their seats and prepare to put them on. Officers at the front door of the House chamber had their guns drawn as someone attempted to enter the chamber.
Officers ordered people in the chamber to drop to the floor for their safety.
Election officials of both parties and independent observers have said there was no significant fraud in the Nov. 3 contest, which Biden won by more than 7 million votes in the national popular vote.
Weeks have passed since the states completed certifying that Biden, a Democrat, won the election by 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232.
Trump’s extraordinary challenges to Biden’s victory have been rejected by courts across the country.
Trump had pressed Pence to throw out election results in states the president narrowly lost, though Pence has no authority to do so.
The certification in Congress, normally a formality, was expected to stretch for several hours as some Republican lawmakers mounted an effort to reject some state tallies, starting with Arizona.
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell denounced the effort, saying “the voters, courts and states “have all spoken, If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever.”
Senate Democratic Leader, Chuck Schumer called the challenges “an attempted coup” and said, “The Congress does not determine the outcome of an election. The people do.”
Outside the Capitol, members of militia groups and far-right groups, some in body armor, mingled with the crowds. Protesters chanting pro-Trump slogans overturned barricades and clashed with police.
On Twitter, Trump called on protesters to stay peaceful.