The protests seeking to overturn the presidential election results followed various claims that the presidential ballot results in some states were fraudulent. Some protesters appeared to think there was still a path for President Donald Trump to win the presidency, despite presumptive President-Elect Joe Biden's decisive electoral college victory.
More than 150 Republican lawmakers sought to question the legitimacy of election results in some states, but Vice President Mike Pence, who can vote to break ties in the U.S. Senate, refused any suggestion that he act to block certification of the election.
Trump himself has stoked claims that the election was stolen and has not conceded, even in the same statements in which he has told protesters to go home. Twitter has started to remove some of his posts, and Facebook has removed some of his videos.
In a Wednesday morning appearance at a rally outside the White House, Trump encouraged supporters to march to the capitol. Some protesters clashed with police, while others intimidated capitol guards into retreating without significant contact.
Some wore "Make America Great" hats or other regalia associated with Trump's campaign. Many carried U.S. flags or Donald Trump flags and some carried Confederate flags.
Some protesters attacked news media, while dozens of others pressed forward into the Capitol Building in defiance of capitol police, breaking windows and forcing open doors.
Lawmakers took shelter, sometimes in their offices, and put on gas masks after security used gas masks in their defense, the Associated Press said. Protesters occupied the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chambers of Congress.
Critics of the president, including some Republicans, blamed him for inciting the protesters.
At least one bomb was found at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee in D.C., at least one other device was discovered on the U.S. Capitol grounds, and a suspicious package at the Democratic National Committee headquarters was under investigation, the New York Times reported.
Pence called out the national guard to support law enforcement in the capital. After the capitol building was secured, Pelosi recalled lawmakers to certify the election results.
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Another bishop who spoke out against the protests was Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport.
"There are few words that can describe the shock I feel to see our Capitol Building occupied by violent rioters. As Americans, we should be deeply disturbed to see an important symbol of freedom and liberty in our nation violated in such a way. Our nation is better than that," he said on Twitter.
"The peaceful transfer of power is one of the most important and revered aspects of our democracy," he continued. "We must recommit ourselves to the values we hold dear as Americans: democracy, freedom, and peace."
"As people of faith, we condemn violence in all its forms as a moral betrayal of the Gospel," he said. "We also know that our nation needs prayer, now more than ever, so that we may always remain one nation, under God."
The bishop asked people to join in prayer for the U.S. "during this unprecedented and frightening time in our history."