Timeline of Events at Capitol Hill

By: Adelle Fernandes

US President Donald Trump’s armed mob of supporters stormed Capitol Hill on Thursday, January 8 (Indian Standard Time); just as Congress gathered to validate Joe Biden’s presidential win. This event is being termed as one of the worst security breaches in the US’s history, as protesters breached barricades and entered the halls of the Capitol building. They vandalized property, brawled with police and also led to the death of four people. Several leaders have pointed fingers at Trump for enticing violence, as he has been known to encourage his supporters to reject the results of the presidential election.

A Run-Through of What Happened

 The Capitol in Washington DC went into lockdown was placed under lockdown after hundreds of Trump supporters wreaked havoc in the historic building in an effort to stall the certification of the election results. Here’s how the event transpired:

January 6, 6.00am (Eastern Standard Time)

Crowds gathered at The Ellipse, a park south of the White House. This gathering was in accordance with Trump’s tweet dated December 19, that urged people to ‘be there and be wild’ on January 6.

January 6, 10.00am (Eastern Standard Time)

The gathering, touted as a ‘Save America Rally’, ran into thousands. Politco reported that a notable number of protesters “wore bullet-proof vests and helmets, flashlights attached to their brims, even at 10 am in broad daylight.” Trump was present along with his sons, Eric and Donald Trump Junior. His lawyer, Rudy Guiliani made an appearance as well; and stated, “Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines are crooked, the ballots are fraudulent. And if we’re wrong, we will be made fools of. But if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail. So…let’s have trial by combat. I am willing to stake my reputation.”

January 6, 11.30am (Eastern Standard Time)

Trump began his hour long speech and asked supporters to walk to the Capitol. He said, “And after this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women.” Trump also mentioned that he expects US Vice President, Mike Pence, who will preside over the joint session of Congress as it formally counts the Electoral College results, to ‘some through’ for them and ‘do the right thing’. Trump then withdrew to the White House and his supporters began their walk to the Capitol.

January 6, 1.00pm (Eastern Standard Time)

US Congress met for the joint session in the House of Representatives hall.

January 6, 1.02pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Mike Pence said he cannot block election results.

January 6, 1.10pm (Eastern Standard Time)

A scuffle began between Trump supporters and Capitol police.

January 6, 1.26pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Under threat of a siege, police ordered the evacuation of the Library of Congress, the Madison Building and Cannon House Office Building. In a matter of no time, Trump supporters stormed the Statuary Hall, a room that separates the House and Senate, heading towards the House and Senate.

January 6, 1.40pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Muriel Bowser, Washington D.C. mayor, ordered a 12-hour curfew in the capital starting from 6 pm.

January 6, 2.11pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Capitol police had been outnumbered by now. Dramatic scenes unfolded as Trump supporters scaled walls. While events such as a presidential inauguration involve detailed security plans by numerous security agencies, far less planning went into protecting the joint session of Congress that convened to ratify the results of the 2020 presidential election, officials said.

January 6, 2.22pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Mike Pence was escorted out of the Senate chamber. A few minutes later, Trump released the first of his tweets that led to his at first temporary, now indefinite ban, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

January 6, 2.38pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Trump tweeted again, this time he urged for peace saying, “Please support out Capitol Police and law enforcement, Stay peaceful!”

January 6, 2.40pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Trump supporters began rampaging through the Capitol premises. Reuters reported that the US Capitol Police tried to control the situation single handedly, as other arms of the US federal government’s security apparatus did not arrive for hours.

January 6, 2.44 – 3.00pm (Eastern Standard Time)

The first shots were fired. In minutes, Trump supporters reached the Senate chamber and stormed the dais. Representatives were rushed out and given survival kits in case of fires. Trump supporters could be seen on camera roaming freely through the historic halls, swinging from a balcony, rifling through the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and even sitting in the chair reserved for the Senate’s presiding officer. A supporter was captured by a Reuters photographer casually shouldering a large Confederate battle flag as he strode inside the Capitol – a searingly evocative inversion of the failed 1861-1865 insurrection against the American republic by Southern states in an effort to perpetuate slavery.

January 6, 3.34pm (Eastern Standard Time)

The first of the four deaths took place, when a woman was shot by Trump supporters.

January 6, 3.51pm (Eastern Standard Time)

More than 1,000 personnel of the District of Columbia National Guard mobilized to aid the Capitol police.

January 6, 4.06pm (Eastern Standard Time)

In a speech, President-elect Joe Biden urged Trump to call for peace. “Our democracy is under unprecedented assault,” he said.

January 6, 4.17pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Trump released a video message on Twitter saying, “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. … So go home. We love you, you’re very special…I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.” It is after this that Twitter went on to ban Trump from the platform.

January 6, 5.30pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Security forces update that the Capitol building had been secured.

January 6, 4.17pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Congress resumed counting the electoral college results.

January 7, 12.10am (Eastern Standard Time)

Four people had died and 52 had been arrested. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee said that two pipe bombs had been recovered from the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic national committees, as well as a cooler from a vehicle on US Capitol grounds that contained Molotov cocktails.

A number of law makers from both parties have condemned the violence that transpired and have called the event despicable and unacceptable. “What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent, its disorder,” President-elect Joe Biden tweeted.

References:

https://m.thewire.in/article/world/washington-usa-capitol-hill-donald-trump-pence

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/us-capitol-hill-siege-explained-7136632/

Picture Sources:

1. India Today

2. BBC

3. The Quint

Adelle Fernandes

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