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Violent protesters have invaded the Capitol Building in Washington, where lawmakers would confirm President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned "scandalous scenes". He wrote on Twitter: “Shameful scenes in the US Congress.
"The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there is a peaceful and orderly transfer of power."
Shameful scenes in the US Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world, and it is now vital that there is a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 6, 2021
Secretary of State Dominic Raab also responded to the chaotic scenes in Washington. He said, "The US is rightly very proud of its democracy, and there can be no justification for these violent attempts to thwart the legal and proper transfer of power."
Labor leader Keir Starmer has also condemned the violence, writing, “Horrible scenes from the US.
The US is rightly very proud of its democracy, and there can be no justification for these violent attempts to thwart the legal and proper transfer of power.
– Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) January 6, 2021
"These are not 'protesters' – this is a direct attack on democracy and lawmakers carrying out the will of the American people. & # 39; & # 39;
The building was closed at approximately 2 p.m. local time after violent clashes between pro-Trump supporters and law enforcement, with some protesters breaking through the building.
Horrible scenes from the USA.
These are not "protesters" – this is a direct attack on democracy and lawmakers carrying out the will of the American people.
– Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) January 6, 2021
Members of Congress were told to evacuate or shelter, and some were asked to wear gas masks while using tear gas.
In a press conference, Robert J. Contee, chief of D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department, confirmed that a civilian had been shot in the Capitol, but gave no further details 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 rift was successfully destroyed by the bombing department after being evacuated, according to the New York Times. The Democratic National Committee near the Capitol was also evacuated.
The National Guard has been deployed in the US capital. Local officials have imposed a 6pm curfew (local time) and a riot has been declared.
Shortly after the violence began, President Donald Trump shared a message on Twitter that did not encourage the crowd to spread. He asked protesters to "remain peaceful" and "respect the law," while Vice President Mike Pence said the violence must "stop now."
Very disturbing scenes from the Capitol. Solidarity with our friends in America tonight. These extremists intend to attack democracy and stir up divisions.
– Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) January 6, 2021
President-elect Biden has condemned the violence. In a statement, he said: "This is not dissent, it is disorder, chaos and borders on sedition and must end now.
"Back off and allow the work of democracy to move forward. The world is watching."
Terrible scenes at the US Congress today. To our great friends in the US, we have always admired your peaceful transfers of power and candidates' gracious acceptance of both electoral victory and defeat. Those who try to undermine this must never be victorious.
– Robert Buckland (@RobertBuckland) January 6, 2021
The president later shared a pre-recorded video message on Twitter asking the protesters to "go home."
He said, & # 39; I know your pain, I know you are hurt. An election has been stolen from us … but you have to go home now, we need peace.
"These were fraudulent elections, but we cannot play into these people's hands, but we must have peace."
Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to accept the results of the November election, with Joe Biden winning the presidency.
Vice President Mike Pence has willingly accepted the election results, 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 our country's founders intended to give the vice president unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes to count during the Joint Session of Congress, and no vice president in US history has ever had one. such authority asserted. "