Washington DC’s police chief has said that the pro-Trump rioters that stormed the US Capitol deployed “chemical irritants” to gain access to the building.
Robert Contee III spoke as law enforcement attempted to clear those that stormed the federal government’s legislative complex.
Thousands of supporters of Donald Trump swarmed the building after a rally near the White House in the morning at which the president encouraged them to march to the Capitol in protest at the election.
At the rally he told the crowd to “get rid of the weak Congress people”, adding: “get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength.”
Events quickly got violent as the angry supporters confronted police outside and within an hour marked by clashes, the complex had been breached.
In initial footage from the scene, images appear to show chemicals being used on Capitol police.
The police chief said officials have declared the scene a riot. Thirteen people not from the local areas were arrested.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said the behavior of the Trump supporters was “shameful, unpatriotic and above all is unlawful.”
Metropolitan police have been sent to the Capitol, and authorities were coming in from Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey to help out.
At 5.30pm the building has reportedly been cleared and law enforcement are attempting to gain control of the surrounding area.
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News – DC police chief says rioters used ‘chemical irritants’ to gain access to Capitol