As violent chaos unfolded Wednesday inside the U.S. Capitol, rioters fueled by President Donald Trump’s election conspiracies clashed with cops at legislative buildings across the country.
Armed militia members gathered outside the Georgia Capitol building just as the pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. House and Senate chambers around 2 p.m. ET. According to reporters on the scene, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the most recent subject of the president’s pressure campaign to overturn the results of the election, was evacuated along with senior staff members.
Rioters also stormed the statehouse in Kansas, reportedly moving inside the first floor of the Topeka Capitol’s rotunda before gathering in a circle, according to KSN. At least a thousand protesters also gathered at the state Capitol building in Phoenix, Arizona, where some in the crowd reportedly brought a guillotine.
“We will never recognize Joe Biden as our president, ever,” activist Stacy Gentile said to the crowd, according to the Arizona Mirror.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a statewide state of emergency over the violence in Washington, D.C., and a curfew in Alexandria and Arlington.
In Texas, state troopers closed the Capitol grounds in Austin, where hundreds of Trump supporters gathered.
“I call on protesters in our state and our nation’s capital to practice their constitutional right in a peaceful manner,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “I stand for election integrity and the democratic process. I will not tolerate violence and civil disorder.”
Hundreds of protesters also gathered at the Oregon State Capitol for a demonstration that quickly devolved into chaos Wednesday afternoon, prompting police to declare an unlawful assembly. Authorities said that one person was arrested for harassment and disorderly conduct. Tear gas was also deployed amid one fight between protesters.
A protest at the Colorado State Capitol turned tense when a fight forced a police officer to strike a protester with a stun gun. The capitol building in New Mexico was also evacuated on Wednesday afternoon.
Dozens of Trump supporters also rallied in front of Los Angeles City Hall, where local police eventually declared unlawful assembly after several fights broke out between protesters.
On Wednesday afternoon, a slew of Trump’s Republican allies in the House and Senate objected to the tally of the votes, citing unsupported allegations of voting irregularities in several battleground states. Per federal law, every objection forced the two chambers to separately go into a recess to debate the dispute for up to two hours.
After the debate, the House and Senate vote on whether to accept the objection. Two of the president’s staunchest allies, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), gave speeches condemning the commander in chief’s actions and refusing to block the certification of the election.
“President Trump claims the election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories,” McConnell said. “But over and over, these courts rejected these claims, including all-star judges, whom the president himself nominated.”
“The Constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids. Voters, courts, states have all spoken. They’ve all spoken. If we overrule them it would damage our republic forever," he added.
The debates, however, were halted after only an hour after a pro-Trump mob swarmed the Capitol building, eventually breaking into the highly secure building and reportedly positioning themselves just outside the Senate chambers. By mid-afternoon, members of the House and Senate were forced to evacuate as protestors flooded the hallways.
The chaotic protest that upended the Capitol building came after Trump’s largely fact-free “Stop the Steal” speech on the National Mall, in which he told his supporters to “fight” for his presidency he refuses to accept he lost before vowing to demolish any Republican who opposes him. On Wednesday afternoon, Virginia declared a state of emergency and D.C. issued a 6 p.m. curfew to curtail any ongoing violence.
“We will not let them silence your voices,” Trump said. After chaos ensued, however, the president called for peace, tweeting, “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”