US Congress certifies Joe Biden’s victory after deadly attack

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The US Congress has certified Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, hours after Trump supporters stormed the building in an attack that saw four people die.

Lawmakers resumed the session after police managed to remove the mob, which had been encouraged by President Trump in a bid to overturn his defeat.

The certification clears the way for Mr Biden to be sworn in on 20 January.

In response, Mr Trump pledged an “orderly transition” of power.

Joe Biden’s victory was confirmed in the early hours of Thursday by a joint session presided over by Vice-President Mike Pence, who said the violence had been a “dark day in the history of the United States Capitol”.

Wednesday’s chaotic scenes followed months of escalating rhetoric around the 3 November election, and culminated with the invasion of the Capitol.

Mr Biden blasted the “insurrection” as Mr Trump, while telling the mob to “go home”, continued to make false claims of electoral fraud. His Twitter and Facebook accounts were later frozen.

Mr Biden’s victory was certified after objections by some Republican lawmakers to overturn the result in Arizona and Pennsylvania were rejected.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Trump said in a statement: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”

The rampage came as two Democrats won Senate seats in elections in Georgia, which shifted the balance of Congress to their party’s effective political control, aiding the passage of Mr Biden’s agenda after he is inaugurated on 20 January.

One woman was shot by police, while three others died as a result of “medical emergencies”, officials said.

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said the woman was part of a group of individuals that forced entry into the House room, which was still in session. They were confronted by plainclothes officers, and an officer pulled out a weapon and fired it.

The woman was taken to hospital and proclaimed dead. She has not been officially named, but local media identified her as San Diego-area US Air Force veteran and Trump supporter Ashli Babbit.

Officials said the three other deaths included one woman and two men, but details of how they died have not been made public. At least 14 members of the police were injured during the unrest.

What happened at the Capitol?

Protesters surged up the Capitol steps at about 14:15 local time (19:15 GMT), shoving past barricades and officers in riot gear to penetrate the building.

The action was targeting the joint session of Congress being held to certify Mr Biden’s election victory on 3 November. The invasion sent members of Congress scrambling for cover under their seats as tear gas was fired.

Satellite image of the Capitol showing where mob entered at the east entrance

The mob – some of whom wore body armour – used chemical irritants to attack police, according to Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee.

They shouted and waved pro-Trump and US flags as they roamed the halls, demanding the results of the presidential election be overturned.

Several thousand National Guard troops, FBI agents and US Secret Service were deployed to help overwhelmed Capitol police.

Two pipe bombs were recovered, one from the Democratic National Committee offices, not far from the Capitol, and one from the nearby Republican National Committee headquarters.

A supporter of US President Donald Trump sits at the desk of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
After sitting at the desk of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one protester leaves a message reading “we will not back down”

The occupation of the Capitol lasted more than three hours before the building was secured by law enforcement. But there was little sign the protesters were heeding Mr Trump’s call to go home, despite a citywide curfew declared by the city mayor from 18:00 to 06:00.

So far, more than 52 people have been arrested – 47 of them for curfew violations.

There were also protests on Wednesday at state legislatures in Kansas, Georgia, Utah and on the other side of the country in Oregon and the north-western state of Washington.

SourceBBC

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