Donald Trump has pleaded with supporters to go home in peace after the United States Capitol was stormed and politicians had to be evacuated.
In a raucous, out-of-control scene, protesters fought past police and breached the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags as they marched through the halls.
One person was reported shot at the Capitol, according to a person familiar with the situation. That person’s condition was unknown.
Trump told his supporters they “have to go home now” in a video posted on social media.
“Save America” rally
It comes just hours after he told thousands of supporters gathered in Washington DC that “we will never concede” the presidential election.
Mr Trump addressed a “Save America” rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House, following speeches by his sons Eric and Donald Jr.
He urged Vice President Mike Pence to help overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the November election when Congress sits later to certify the Electoral College votes.
“If Mike Pence does the right thing we win the election,” Mr Trump said.
“All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people,” Mr Trump said, repeating a falsehood he has been promoting leading up to the congressional session.
But Mr Pence later defied the president’s call, saying “he does not have the power to discard electoral votes”.
Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
“People are angry”
At the Lincoln Memorial, dozens of Trump supporters stood on the steps with large Trump flags.
Nirav Peterson, who flew in from Seattle to attend the rally, said there would be a groundswell of anger and activism if Mr Trump does not serve another term and said Republicans who do not back him should face primary challenges.
“People are angry. This isn’t going to go away,” Ms Peterson said as she took video of the large crowd gathered beyond the steel barriers at the foot of the Washington Monument.
“You have a huge, huge portion of the people who aren’t going to take it any more.”
Footage from Capitol Building shows protesters chant “stop the steal” as they made their way through the building.
Heavily armed SWAT units have now entered the building in an attempt to disperse the crowds, although it is unclear whether they will be able to do so peacefully.
Heavily armed FBI SWAT units have now entered the Capitol complex. pic.twitter.com/tS7VWXseni— The Intel Crab (@IntelCrab) January 6, 2021
President elect Joe Biden has released a statement saying the chaos “does not represent who we are”, adding “it borders on sedition and it must end”.
Let me be very clear: the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not represent who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent, it's disorder. It borders on sedition, and it must end. Now.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 6, 2021