Thousands of pro-Trump protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, vandalizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and both congressional chambers as lawmakers met to review President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
Lawmakers were escorted to safety as the crowds gained entry to the building by bypassing security barricades and breaking windows. Protesters overturned tables and caused damage in Pelosi’s office, according to multiple reports. One individual was photographed with his feet up on the California Democrat’s desk, while others left a note that read: "We will not back down."
The protesters briefly gained access to the Senate chamber, with one of the president’s supporters reaching the dais and reportedly yelling that "Trump won the election." Law enforcement officers drew their weapons and barred the doors to prevent a crowd of protesters from entering the House chamber.
"We are calling on President Trump to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately," Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a joint statement.
One person was shot during violent confrontations inside the Capitol building, Fox News reported. The person’s condition was not immediately clear.
Trump in a video message called on protesters to go home, even as he repeated his claim that Biden’s victory was "fraudulent."
"We had an election that was stolen from us," Trump said. "It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side."
The storming of the U.S. Capitol was the most significant breach of an American government institution since the Battle of Bladensburg on Aug. 24, 1824, when the British army burned the Capitol during the War of 1812.
The protests drew condemnation from countless Republican leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who told Fox News that he heard shots inside the Capitol. Washington D.C. has instituted a 6 p.m. curfew in a bid to clear the streets.