Chaos has taken over the scheduled Electoral College vote in the Congressional joint session today as protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Suspicious packages were reportedly discovered, and everyone inside the Capitol has been told to shelter in place.
Congress had just started the procedure of counting the Electoral College vote, and senators had left the House floor and retired back to the Senate chamber for two hours of debate after an objection had been raised to the certification of Arizona’s electoral votes.
Fox News has reported that security outside the Capitol failed, leading to an out-of-control mob being allowed to take control of the area. The lawmakers inside had reportedly been instructed to get the escape hoods that were located inside the chambers, in case they at some point are confronted by the throngs of protesters and possible tear gas.
Additional law enforcement was called in, creating a heavy police presence on Capitol Hill, but protesters scattered throughout the area as law enforcement in riot gear tried to gain control. Multiple reports say protesters have actually entered the Capitol building.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew, saying on Twitter, “I’m ordering a citywide curfew for the District of Columbia from 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, until 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 7.” The National Guard also has been called out to assist.
Fox News reported at 2:40 PM ET that tear gas is being used in the Capital rotunda, and lawmakers are being told to put on gas masks.