Trump-Supporters Breach Steps at Capitol Hill as Congress Debate Vote Count


Courtesy of Yahoo News Australia

On Wednesday, January 6, thousands of Trump-supporters surrounded the Capitol building, with scores of people forcefully entering the building. Shattered glass surrounded the area and confrontation between police and protesters arose.

Riley Pietsch, Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, January 6, Congress gathered at the Capitol building to certify Electoral College votes. The peaceful meeting quickly turned violent as Trump-supporters stormed the monumental building, causing lockdowns and clashes with police.

Not even an hour into debating the first objection of Arizona, a state that Joe Biden turned blue, the House and Senate had to recess due to people crowding in the hallways, surrounding each chamber. Lawmakers, staffers, and reporters in each chamber were quickly forced to shelter, hide under their seats, and put on gas masks, as the chance of police utilizing tear gas to deescalate the violence was high. 

According to ABC News, a woman inside the Capitol building was shot and was quickly rushed to the hospital due to being in critical condition. Unfortunately, later in the evening, the unidentified woman passed away and it is still unclear what led to the shooting. 

Outside of the House chamber, glass shattered as protestors broke one of the center doors. On the inside, Capitol officers had their guns drawn, pointed towards the door, in anticipation that an intruder might surpass the barricaded door.

Capitol officers point their guns toward the door that was struck by Trump-supporters flooding the halls of the building. (Courtesy of WREG)

Other rioters made their way into the Senate chamber and one Trump-supporter announced “Trump won that election.”

Yorba Linda High School class of 2019 graduate, Hailey-Jean Tustison, attended the protest outside of the Capitol building, and explained that “fighting for freedom was the basis of it,” adding that “it was peaceful, everyone was standing around the Capitol building.”

YLHS alumni, Hailey-Jean Tustison reveals her perspective of the protest at the Capitol building, showing the large crowd that showed up to support President Trump. (Courtesy of Hailey-Jean Tustison)

While this violence broke out, many waited for President Trump to tweet a statement on the events taking place at Capitol Hill. Earlier in the day, Donald Trump reminded his supporters to “stay peaceful” and respect law enforcement, without entirely condemning the use of force to get into the Capitol building. Soonly after, he 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!”

Similarly, Vice President Mike Pence tweeted “The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building.”

During all the chaos that took place at the nation’s capital, president-elect Joe Biden made a statement about the violence taking place in and outside the Capitol building. He addressed the nation saying, “Let me be very clear — the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, 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’s chaos. It borders on sedition and it must end now.” He followed by saying “It’s not protest. It’s insurrection.”

Minutes after Joe Biden made his statement, Trump took to Twitter, again, posting a one-minute video. In the video, he said “Go home. We love you, you’re very special” following with “I know how you feel, But go home and go in peace.” 

YLHS student, Patrick Song (12), was appalled by the events at Capitol Hill, explaining that he has “never seen anything quite like this before.” He then went on to say that he “hope[s] everyone there is safe and the violence comes to an end.”

Many lawmakers have also taken to social media, demanding that rioters who caused serious harm be identified and held accountable for any damage they caused. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted “Those who made this attack on our government need to be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Their actions are repugnant to democracy.”

Finally, lawmakers, staffers, and reporters from inside the building were evacuated. Despite the extra officers on duty outside of the Capitol prepared for a violent uproar, police were still overwhelmed by the amassed crowd that swarmed the area. 

As for Washington D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser placed a citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 a.m. to hopefully prevent further violence, and keep everyone safe.