Washington, Jan 6 (efe-epa).- A woman who was shot inside the US Capitol Wednesday as supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump occupied the seat of Congress on the day lawmakers were set to certify Democrat Joe Biden as winner of the Nov. 3 election died at a Washington hospital, media outlets said.
The circumstances of the shooting remain under investigation, law enforcement sources told journalists.
MSNBC television broadcast images of the woman bleeding profusely as she was being carried away on a stretcher. CNN reported that multiple law enforcement officers had been injured.
Hundreds of Trump partisans roused by the president’s baseless charges that the election was stolen invaded the Capitol shortly after mid-day, clashing with Capitol Police and besieging lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives.
A photojournalist inside the House chamber captured an image of plain-clothes security guards facing the door with their guns drawn.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump said Wednesday evening in a tweet that seemed to justify the assault on the Capitol.
Twitter, which months ago began attaching disclaimers to Trump tweets including dubious or unsupported assertions, reacted to the latest outburst by locking the president’s personal Twitter account for 12 hours.
Participants in what Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger described as a “coup attempt” stormed the Capitol just as the House and Senate had retired to their respective chambers to debate Republican objections to certifying Arizona’s 12 electoral votes for Biden.
Around 100 Republican House members and a dozen GOP senators signaled their intent to raise objections pursuant to Trump’s evidence-free allegations.
To be successful, an objection must be approved by both chambers. The Democratic-controlled House is certain to vote down the objections and several members of the Republican majority in the Senate oppose the effort to overturn the election outcome.
“Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday evening.
“After calls to the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Vice President, we have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use,” the California Democrat said.
The leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, told reporters he was hoping lawmakers would reconvene at 8.00 pm.
Hours into the siege at the Capitol – and only after appeals from President-elect Biden, Democratic leaders in Congress and some Republicans – Trump exhorted his supporters to “go home” while repeating his baseless claim that the election was stolen.
“I know your pain, I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now,” he said. “We have to have peace, we have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order, we don’t want anybody hurt.”
“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people, we have to have peace. So go home. We love you, you’re very special,” the former reality TV star said in a video posted on Twitter at 4:17 pm.
Trump’s message followed a demand from Biden that the current occupant of the White House go on national television and tell his supporters to end “this siege.”
“It’s not protest, it’s insurrection,” Biden said some four years after he, as vice president under Barack Obama, presided over the joint session of Congress that certified Trump’s 2016 election victory.
By 5:00 pm, large contingents of police from neighboring Maryland and Virginia had arrived at the Capitol to assist the small Capitol Police force and units of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department.
The presence of reinforcements was enough to persuade protesters to retreat down the Capitol steps and allow cops to establish a security perimeter ahead of a 6:00 pm curfew ordered by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.