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U.S. Capitol Locked Down As Trump Supporters Breach The Building

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Protesters gesture to U.S. Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber inside the Capitol on Wednesday.

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Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. Capitol was engulfed in chaos on Wednesday, as supporters of President Trump, responding to his call to head there, breached the complex, resulting in violence in the seat of America’s federal government.

The surreal and dangerous scene interrupted proceedings in the House and Senate, as members of Congress were tallying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Updated at 3:33 p.m. ET

U.S. Capitol Police say they have locked down all buildings within the U.S. Capitol complex as violent supporters of President Trump have breached the Capitol building and continue to clash with police.

Police have alerted individuals to shelter in place, citing a “security threat inside the building.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican ally of Trump’s, confirmed on Fox News Wednesday afternoon that he heard on a Capitol Police radio that there were “shots fired” in the building.

“People are hurt,” he said.

At least one woman could be seen during live cable coverage being rolled out on a stretcher from the Capitol Building, visibly bleeding.

Trump tweeted: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

Staff have been urged to move inside offices, hide and lock external doors and windows.

Police were seen with guns drawn in the House chamber, pointing their firearms at windows that were smashed.

Members were told that tear gas was being used in the Capitol rotunda and members should get ready to put on masks on.

Previously, police placed the entire Capitol complex on lockdown and both the U.S. Senate and House then went into recess.

“Due to an external security threat located on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building, no entry or exit is permitted at this time,” the police said in a statement. “You may move throughout the building(s) but stay away from exterior windows and doors. If you are outside, seek cover.”

Capitol Police also issued safety guidance to staff in multiple federal buildings.

Alerts citing police activity were sent to individuals in the Cannon House Office Building and the Library of Congress’ James Madison Memorial Building.

Individuals in Cannon were originally told to evacuate as well but were later instructed to stay in the building, according to recent email updates from Capitol Police. The evacuation notice has since been cleared.

Staff inside the Library of Congress were also told to exit the building and remain calm, according to reporting from Politico.

This comes as thousands of pro-Trump and far-right protesters have congregated in downtown D.C. to contest the results of the presidential election.

Groups of protests have broken down barriers originally placed near the Capitol building and are now engaged in altercations with police. Lawmakers have begun acknowledging the escalating violence.

Congress has begun the process of officially recognizing the results of the presidential election. The process has been delayed for several hours after multiple Republican members challenged the results in Arizona, a move they are expected to do with several states.

In an address to protesters midday on Wednesday, President Trump repeatedly denied the results of the election, claiming without evidence that it was rigged against his campaign.

NPR’s Deirdre Walsh and Kelsey Snell contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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