US President Donald Trump has urged protesters who stormed the US Capitol to go home while continuing to make baseless claims of election fraud.
A riot broke out in the meeting place of the US Congress in Washington DC during a session to count and certify the Electoral College votes from the US election.
Thousands flooded the US Capitol complex in what President-Elect Joe Biden described as “insurrection”, as protesters cheered Trump’s baseless claims the election was stolen from him.
As Biden called on Trump to “step up” and appear on national television to “fulfil his oath and defend the constitution”, the President posted a video on Twitter where he continued to fail to concede defeat.
“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” Trump said in a message to protesters.
“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. We have to respect our great people in law and order.
“We don’t want anybody hurt. It is a very tough period of time. There has never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country.”
He added it was a “fraudulent election” but said there had to be peace.
“So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”
The video was dubbed dangerous, with US Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders claiming Trump was directly responsible for the chaos.
“[He] made it clear that he will do anything to remain in power – including insurrection and inciting violence,” he tweeted.
“Trump will go down in history as the worst and most dangerous president in history.”
Facebook removed Trump’s video from its platform, saying it was taking appropriate emergency measures.
“We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen tweeted.
Twitter followed Facebook’s lead and also deleted the video and locked Trump’s account for 12 hours.
Woman shot in chilling scenes at US Capitol
With a woman dead who was shot during the rioting, police moved in with drawn guns and tear gas to clear those protesting in a bid to force Congress to undo Trump’s election loss.
Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate were evacuated after pro-Trump protesters surged through the halls of Congress, forcing both chambers to suspend deliberations.
One protester occupied the Senate dais and yelled, "Trump won that election”. Protesters overturned barricades and clashed with police as thousands descended on the Capitol grounds.
‘Not a protest – it’s insurrection’, says Biden
Biden, a Democrat who defeated the Republican president in the November 3 election and is due to take office on January 20, said the activity of the protesters "borders on sedition”.
The former vice president said for demonstrators to storm the Capitol, smash windows, occupy offices, invade the halls of Congress and threaten the safety of duly elected officials: "It's not a protest, it's insurrection.”
Video showed protesters breaking windows and police deploying tear gas inside the building.
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