By Obiora Ifoh |
Supporters of United States President Donald Trump yesterday stormed the Capitol where lawmakers have been meeting to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in last year’s presidential poll.
The police quickly placed the US Capitol building on lockdown after Trump supporters breached security lines.
In dramatic scenes, demonstrators swarmed near the building as Congress members were escorted out by police.
A joint session of Congress has been counting and confirming Electoral College votes.
The proceedings are usually brief and ceremonial but Republican lawmakers are objecting to some results.
Any attempt to block Mr Biden’s victory is almost certain to fail.
For days, Mr Trump has also been putting pressure on Vice-President Mike Pence, who is presiding over the session, to block certification of the result.
But in a letter to Congress yesterday, Mr Pence said that he had no “unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted”.
Nevertheless, Mr Trump is making a final stand against the certification of his defeat.
The protesters arrived at the Capitol from a “Save America Rally”, where Mr Trump had urged them to support those legislators opposing Mr. Biden’s confirmation.
Mr Trump has refused to concede the 3 November election, repeatedly alleging fraud without providing any evidence.
Yesterday, he said again: “We will never give up. We will never concede.”
He has also tried to throw doubt on the integrity of Tuesday’s Senate run-off votes in the southern, traditionally Republican, state of Georgia.
If the Democrats win both they will gain effective control of the Senate – something that will help Mr. Biden push forward his agenda after he is inaugurated as president on 20 January.
Wearing “Make America Great Again” caps and sharing biscuits and beers, hundreds of Donald Trump supporters also insisted they would never accept Joe Biden as president as they traveled by bus from near Boston to Washington to protest Congress’s expected certification of his White House victory.
“We’re not going to roll over and let this go. There’s no way,” said Sue Ianni, an official with the pro-Trump, pro-straight organization Super Fun Happy America, which chartered six buses carrying about 300 protesters for the demonstration in the US capital.
“We will fight tooth and nail. This isn’t over just if Biden gets inaugurated, if that happens. We’ll never stop fighting. And Trump will be our president for the next four years, no matter who they inaugurate,” she added.
Despite Congress all but certain later Wednesday to certify the Electoral College results that determined Biden the winner of the presidential race, the busload of Trump supporters that AFP traveled with were in festive spirits.
Dressed in red “MAGA” sweaters, they took selfies and passed around snacks on the ten-hour trip. Even the driver wore a “MAGA” cap.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to do something like this before,” said Vincent Petroni, a young man who calls himself a member of the far-right Proud Boys group, whose leader was arrested in Washington on Monday for torching a Black Lives Matter banner.
Washington DC Mayor Imposes Citywide Curfew
Washington DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a curfew from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday for Washington amid violence and pro-Trump protests that have caused U.S. Capitol Building to go under a lockdown.
“During the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor, shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by car or other mode of transport upon any street, alley, park, or other public place within the District,” said the order from Bowser’s office.
The curfew imposed by the Mayor’s Order shall not apply to essential workers, including working media with their outlet-issued credentials, when engaged in essential functions, including travel to and from their essential work. Bowser has been vocal about asking people to not travel to downtown DC amid protests that have been scheduled for weeks in DC.
But President Donald Trump asked his supporters to go home after the ‘occupy capitol.’
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