Hundreds of protesters who massed in the nation’s capital to support President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud swarmed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, forcing police to evacuate parts of the complex as some demonstrators breached barricades on the building’s steps.
The chaotic scene came after Trump spoke to a large crowd in front of the White House, angrily vowing that he would never concede to President-elect Joe Biden.
“We will never give up, we will never concede. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump said to a crowd of supporters, some of whom chanted “USA!” or waved anti-Biden banners.. He later falsely claimed Biden would be an “illegitimate” president.
The U.S. Capitol Police said it was evacuated areas near the building as pro-Trump protesters stormed barricades set up outside the perimeter, and law enforcement officers were seen trying to push them back.
The Library of Congress, located directly across the street from the main Capitol building, was evacuated and people were told to remain calm and move in a safe manner to the exits.
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., tweeted that she had to evacuate her congressional office because a pipe bomb was reported outside the Capitol. “Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots,” Luria tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, just steps from Capitol Hill, was evacuated earlier Wednesday due to a suspicious package, and investigation is underway.
Multiple groups of protesters were set to convene around the U.S. Capitol and National Mall as Congress meets to count states’ Electoral Votes and reaffirm that Joe Biden has been elected the next U.S. president.