A detailed look back at the six hours that shook US democracy in Washington DC
By Peter Beaumont, Matt Fidler, Nikhita Chulani, Paul Scruton, Paul Torpey, Chris Watson and Finbarr Sheehy.
11:50 o’clock. On the day Congress is scheduled to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the November presidential election, Donald Trump is speaking to a crowd of thousands of supporters he has encouraged to come to Washington.
Speaking at the Ellipse, a park between the Mall and the White House, with dissolute and baseless claims of a stolen election, Trump robs the crowd, including members of far-right groups. Trump is encouraging them to march to protest at the Capitol, where Congress is seated.
Trump says he’s going to accompany the march, but he returns to the White House as he leaves to watch the events unfold on TV.
Stormed by the Capitol
Twelve:15 p.m. The crowd members begin to move away from the park and down Pennsylvania Avenue, about a mile long, towards the Capitol, including some wearing body armor and helmets.
The mob topples the barricades to the west of the Capitol, pushes past police, climbs over a low wall and heads toward the building, as Congress gathers to negotiate a challenge to the election results.
Vice President Mike Pence points to the inside of the building around 1 p.m. That he will not comply with Trump’s demand that state votes be nullified. The crowd outside begins scuffling with officials on the steps of the Capitol in minutes.
Some rioters push through the remaining thin line of police and break into the building through the front door.
1:26 p.m. The mob is now inside the Capitol building.
At one end is the Senate chamber, at the other is the House of Representatives, and in the center is the Rotunda.
While the rioters run amok in the Capitol, at times scuffling with police, other parts of the congressional grounds are cordoned off, including remote office buildings.
At 1:33 p.m., C-Span reports that the rioters are in Statuary Hall.
At 1:40 p.m., DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announces a citywide curfew, starting at 6 p.m.
Police lock the doors of the House of Representatives, barricade an entrance, and issue protective hoods.
I’m safe. We’ve been issued escape hoods and are being taken through the Capitol pic.twitter.com/8YRX9Z3UTo
January 6, 2021
Inside the House chamber, security officers draw their weapons and people take cover after rioters smash the windows of the chamber’s door.
Fearing for the safety of those in attendance, police now focus on evacuating staff and lawmakers, making their way through the corridors to safety. Pence, who presided over the meeting in the House chamber, is taken to a safe location while others hide in their offices or in one of the cafeterias.
Around 2:10 p.m., another police line is breached and more rioters scale the walls on the west side of the building.
At some point, more enter through a door on the east side.
At 2:44 p.m., it is announced that shots have been fired inside the Capitol.
It later emerges that a female Trump supporter who had joined the mob was fatally wounded. Three other people are reported to die from “medical emergencies” during the riot.
At 3 p.m., footage of rioters on the floor of the Senate chamber and on the floor emerges.
They are also seen in the offices of lawmakers, including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Extensive looting ensues.
2-6 p.m. As rioters cavort outside the Capitol, taking selfies and giving interviews, heavily armed police inside the building – mostly out of sight of cameras – gradually begin to regain control of the complex, using pepper spray and stun grenades and making arrests.
While Trump reportedly refuses to deploy the National Guard, some 1,000 Guard members are being mobilized in DC, and Maryland and Virginia are also offering to send reinforcements. Trump belatedly announces that he has authorized the use of the National Guard.
At 4:10 p.m., Joe Biden appears on national television to denounce the “mob” and call on Trump to intervene and end the “siege.” When Trump makes a video statement about a half hour later, he continues to falsely claim that the election has been disrupted