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A “mob” backing US President Donald Trump has forcibly clashed with law enforcement, plunged the Capitol into chaos, locked the building and stopped voting to confirm Joe Biden’s presidential victory

Dozens of people have violated security regulations in the Capitol, and officials in the chamber of the house were ordered to put on gas masks when tear gas was fired in the rotunda on Wednesday (local time)

A “threat to external security” warning was played at the Capitol during the meeting of members of Congress that is expected to vote to confirm Mr Biden’s victory

Protesters used “chemical irritants” by the police to break into the building, Washington DC Police Chief Robert Contee said before going into the Senate Chamber

The leaders of Congress have been brought to safety. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, who attended the joint session, is also said to be safe

When it got dark, police officers worked their way up to the demonstrators and tried to clear the area around the Capitol with rocket grenades. Large clouds of tear gas were visible

The police were in full riot gear. They went down the west steps and clashed with protesters before they opened the building shortly before 6pm00 a.m. (local time) when a city-wide curfew was due to go into effect

A woman who was shot dead during the violent protest at the Capitol, DC police confirmed, while more than a dozen people from the area were arrested

A White House spokesman said the National Guard will be stationed at the U.S. Capitol along with other federal protection agencies.

There were also skirmishes outside the building at the site where Mr. Biden will be inaugurated in just two weeks

Protesters tore down metal barricades at the foot of the Capitol steps and were hit by officers in riot gear

Some tried to push past the officers holding shields, and officers could see pepper spray shooting into the crowd to hold them back

In response, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Wednesday, May 6, January (local time) through Thursday the 7th A curfew for the District of Columbia was held on January 6th at 6:00 am

Mr Trump responded to the situation on Twitter, urging protesters to “stay peaceful” before later releasing a video asking them to “go home”

“I know your pain, I know your pain, we had a choice that was stolen from us,” he said, repeating unsubstantiated claims of election fraud

“But you must go home now, we must have peace, we must have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order

“We can’t play into the hands of these people We must have peace So go home We love you You are very special”

In a follow-up tweet that has since been removed from Twitter, Mr Trump appeared to justify the occupation of the US Capitol, writing, “These are the things that happen when a holy landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & vicious is stripped of great patriots who have been mistreated & for so long “

Twitter Safety said Mr. Trump’s account has been suspended for “repeated and serious violations of our Citizens’ Integrity Policy”

Earlier, Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said the protesters, whom he described as “patriots”, are “on the right side of law and history”

The clashes came shortly after Mr Trump spoke to thousands of his supporters at a rally near the White House on Wednesday prior to the vote in Congress

“We’re not going to let them silence your voices,” Trump told the protesters who lined up before sunrise to get a prime position to hear the president

More than six hours after pro-Trump supporters forced politicians to vacate the complex, the Senate has resumed debate on the Republican challenge to Mr Biden’s win in the presidential election

Vice President Mike Pence, who previously called for those responsible for the “attack on our Capitol” to be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law”, said violence would never win

“When we meet again in this chamber the world will once again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy

“For even after unprecedented violence and vandalism in this capital city, the elected representatives of the people of the United States gathered again on the same day to support and defend the United States Constitution”

In a previous national address, Mr. Biden named those who storm the Capitol as “a small number of extremists committed to lawlessness”

“This is not decent, it is disorder, it is chaos,” he said, urging Mr. Trump to “demand an end to this siege”

“It borders on turmoil and must end now. I urge this mob to step back and move forward with the work of democracy”

On Twitter, former President Barack Obama said the violence was “instigated by a sitting president,” while Ben Sasse, a Republican senator and frequent critic of the president, said the Capitol was “raided while the leader of the free world crouched behind his keyboard “

After the protests, Stephanie Grisham – Chief of Staff and press secretary of First Lady Melania Trump – announced her resignation

Ms. Grisham, one of the longest serving staff in the Trump administration, said it was an “honor” to serve the country in the White House

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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, 10 hours before GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Capitol is building Washington, we are closing the Capitol

World news – AU – Chaos in Washington as politicians in gas masks flee from the attack by Trump supporters on the Capitol