Supporters of United State President Donald Trump have marched on the Capitol, where lawmakers were meeting to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
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 attempts to block Biden’s victory are almost certain to fail.
For days Trump has also been putting pressure on Vice-President Mike Pence, who is presiding over the session, to block certification of the result.
A woman has been shot on the chest inside the US Capitol after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building and violently clashed with police.
The protesters breached the Senate chamber as senators were rushed from the room by Capitol Police.
They were heard banging on the doors of the House chamber and yelling outside as police officers rushed lawmakers out of the chamber and to safety.
There were reports of gun shots outside of the House as an armed stand off took place at the doors of the chamber.
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‘We’ve been given gas masks on the House floor. Tear gas has been used in the Rotunda,’ wrote Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly on twitter.
Vice President Mike Pence, presiding in the Senate, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, presiding in the House, were removed from their respective chambers at the first hint of the breach for their own safety.
The protesters filled the rotunda, which sets below the dome of the Capitol and is filled with paintings depicting important scenes in the founding of the nation. They also were seen marching through Statuary Hall, the room off the House chamber that is filled with statues of the nation’s founders and used for special ceremonies.
In the crypt of the Capitol, where George Washington was originally supposed to be buried, police and protesters clashed, fighting it out.
‘We now have individuals that have breached the Capitol building. They are in the Rotunda area,’ Capitol police said.
Trump urged his supporters to stay peaceful, in a tweet that came after they had breached the building. At a rally earlier that morning, he had encouraged them to march on the Capitol, where lawmakers were certifying the electoral college vote for Joe Biden.
‘Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!,’ the president wrote.
But he did not tell them to leave.
U.S. Capitol Police used tear gas as hundreds of people were seen climbing the marble steps outside the building. They banged on the locked doors of the Capitol and smashed the glass in the doors.