Donald Trump: Ratification of Joe Biden’s election victory descends into chaos on Capitol Hill
Thousands of Trump supporters have stormed the United States Capitol building in Washington D.C. this afternoon, during a joint session of Congress meant to ratify Joe Biden’s November presidential election victory.
Vice President Mike Pence was part way through the process of confirming the President-Elect’s 306-232 Electoral College victory over President Trump, when violence erupted outside the building.
Images from inside the building show protesters in an armed stand-off with law-enforcement officials barricaded inside the House of Representatives chamber.
Moments earlier, across the Capitol in the Senate chamber, Mr Pence had been preparing to certify President Trump’s - and his own - election defeat.
As the ceremonial President of the Senate, his role required him to announce the electoral college result to both Senators and Congressional Representatives.
The joint session, which has been held every four years since the election of the United States’ first President, George Washington, and is considered a political formality.
Earlier today, Mr Trump addressed thousands of his supporters in Washington D.C. and repeatedly claimed the election had been “stolen” from him.
Police stationed outside the Capitol building were later overrun by the protesters, prompting the evacuation of the Vice President and the other members of Congress.
The Virginia National Guard has been mobilised, and the Mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser, has announced a city-wide curfew for this evening.
Mr Trump has refused to concede defeat to Mr Biden, and has repeatedly cited unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud by the Democratic Party.
According to the New York Times, the outgoing President is thought to have put pressure on his Vice President to use his ceremonial role to block the congressional certification of the election result.
Mr Pence is understood to have told Mr Trump that he did not have the power to block the ratification process on Tuesday, hours before the President told followers on Twitter that: “The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.”
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