Boris Johnson Has Condemned “Disgraceful Scenes” As Violent Pro-Trump Protests Storm The US Capitol Building
Violent protesters have breached the Capitol in Washington where lawmakers were set to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's election win.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned “disgraceful scenes”. He wrote on Twitter: “Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress.
“The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab also responded to the chaotic scenes in Washington. He said: “The US rightly takes great pride in its democracy, and there can be no justification for these violent attempts to frustrate the lawful and proper transition of power.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer has also condemned the violence, writing: “Horrendous scenes from the US.
“These are not ‘protestors’ - this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people.”
The building was placed into lockdown at around 2pm local time following violent clashes between pro-Trump supporters and law enforcement, during which some demonstrators breached the building.
Members of Congress were told to evacuate or shelter in place, with some asked to wear gas masks as tear gas was deployed.
In a press conference, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee confirmed that one civilian had been shot inside the Capitol Building, but did not give further detail about their condition.
An explosive device, believed to be a pipe bomb, was discovered at the nearby Republican National Committee. An RNC official said the devide had been successfully destroyed by the bomb squad after being evacuated, according to New York Times. The Democratic National Committee near to the Capitol Building was also evacuated.
The National Guard has been deployed in the US capital. Local officials instituted a 6pm curfew (local time) and a riot has been declared.
Shortly after the violence started, President Donald Trump shared a message on Twitter that stopped short of encouraging the mob to disperse. He asked protesters to “remain peaceful” and “respect the law”, while Vice-President Mike Pence said the violence “must stop now”.
President-elect Biden has condemned the violence. In a statement, he said: "This is not dissent, it's disorder, chaos and borders on sedition and it must end now.
"Pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward. The world is watching."
The president later shared a pre-recorded video message on Twitter asking the protesters to “go home”.
He said: “I know your pain, I know you're hurt. We had an election stolen from us...but you have to go home now, we have to have peace.
"This was a fraudulent election but we can't play into the hands of these people but we have to have peace."
Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to accept the result of the November's election, which saw Joe Biden win the presidency.
Vice President Mike Pence has willingly accepted the election result saying he "loves the Constitution", despite pressure from President Trump to reject it.
In a letter released by The White House on Wednesday Pence wrote:
“I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the vice president with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no vice president in American history has ever asserted such authority.”