Congress resumes election session after deadly riot

Lawmakers have returned to the US Capitol to finish certifying Joe Biden’s election victory, hours after Trump supporters stormed the building in a riot that saw four people die.

Officials say one woman was shot by police, while three others died as a result of “medical emergencies”.

The pro-Trump mob stormed the building in a bid to overturn the election result, suspending a Congress session.

US President-elect Joe Biden blasted the “insurrection”.

President Donald Trump, who had urged the demonstrators to march on the Capitol, later called on them to “go home”, while continuing to make false claims of electoral fraud.

Twitter and Facebook later froze his social media accounts.

Live: Four dead after Trump supporters ransack Congress
What does a deadly day mean for Trump’s legacy?
US Vice-President Mike Pence started the resumed session on Wednesday evening, in which lawmakers are counting and confirming electoral votes, saying it had been a “dark day in the history of the United States Capitol”.

The rampage on Wednesday 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.

What do we know about the deaths?
Officials say four people died during the storming of the Capitol building.

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

Mayor Muriel Bowser said the woman who was shot 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, she said.

‘They tried to break in – then I heard a shot’
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. Further details of how they died have not been made public.

At least 14 members of the police were injured during the unrest.

Some Republicans are raising objections in the session in an effort to overturn the result – a bid that is all but certain to fail.

US President-elect Joe Biden has blasted the “insurrection” of pro-Trump supporters who stormed the US Congress in a riot that saw a woman shot dead.

The Democrat demanded outgoing President Donald Trump “step up” and repudiate the violence.

Mr Trump, who had urged the demonstrators to march on the Capitol, later called on them to “go home”.

A joint session of Congress confirming Mr Biden’s election win has resumed after it was suspended by the mayhem.

US Vice-President Mike Pence started the session on Wednesday evening, saying it had been a “dark day in the history of the United States Capitol”.

Earlier, the protesters fought their way past police into the complex, shouting and waving Trump and US flags as they roamed the halls, demanding the results of the presidential election be overturned.

In stunning scenes beamed around the world, the invasion sent members of Congress scrambling for cover under their seats as a gunshot rang out and tear gas was fired in the Capitol Rotunda.

A female civilian who was shot inside the US Capitol during the chaos has died, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Federal law enforcement official said two suspected explosive devices were found and were both rendered safe by the FBI and Capitol Hill police.

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.

In pictures: Pro-Trump protesters storm Capitol
Democrats take control of Senate with Georgia wins
What did Biden say?
The Democrat, who defeated the Republican president in November’s White House election, said the protesters’ activity “borders on sedition”.

Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, he also said democracy was “under unprecedented assault”.

“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfil his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,” he said.

“To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices on the floor of the United States Senate, rummaging through desks, on the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly elected officials.

“It’s not protest; it’s insurrection.”

The people who still believe Trump won
Can rebel Republicans overturn the election?
What is the electoral college?
What did Trump say?
Mr Trump responded in a recorded video on Twitter, repeating his unproven claims of election fraud.

“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt,” said the president.

“We had an election that was stolen from us. 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.”
For the first time, Twitter froze Mr Trump’s account. The social media company announced it would keep the account locked for 12 hours, demanding he delete three tweets that it said could stoke violence and threatening “permanent suspension”. Facebook and Instagram followed suit.

Social media giants remove Trump video
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Trump addressed a “Save America Rally” outside the White House.

He had urged supporters to head to the Capitol and said: “Our country has had enough and we will not take it anymore.”

What happened at the Capitol?
Little is known about the woman who died, but disturbing footage from the scene shows her slumped on the ground with blood on her face. Police have not yet released her identity and it is unclear who fired the shot.

Local US media have named her as a San Diego-area US Air Force veteran and Trump supporter, Ashli Babbit.

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

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

They marched through the building shouting “Where are they?” and chanting “We want Trump”.

One climbed on to the Senate dais and shouted: “Trump won that election.” Another protester was photographed sitting in House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with a foot on the table.

Police with guns drawn piled furniture against the doors of the House chamber to keep protesters out.

Members of Congress – including Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, who is a senator – were told to evacuate the building.

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

After an occupation lasting several hours, the sergeant-at-arms – the executive office of the Senate – announced that the building had been 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 (23:00 to 11:00 GMT).

Meanwhile, a suspicious device was found outside the Republican National Committee’s headquarters, near the Capitol complex, and it was detonated by a bomb squad.

Washington DC Metropolitan Police said five guns were seized. At least 13 people were arrested.

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

‘Surrender the building to us’

On the steps of Capitol Hill, hundreds of loyal Trump supporters were packed closely together, as nearby armed police officers kept a watchful eye.

The mood was tense and defiant.

“We’re not [expletive] Antifa!” one man screamed at the police, referring to the loose coalition of “anti-fascist” activists that oppose Mr Trump.

Trump loyalists near him waved placards that said “show us the ballots”.

“All we want is for the Capitol police to stand down, and surrender the building to us,” said one man to news cameras, as he was filmed by other Trump supporters.

The conviction was that the election was stolen from President Trump, and the lawmakers inside the building should do their duty and somehow award the election to him.

Never mind that election officials have certified the results and the courts have thrown out Trump campaign lawsuits alleging fraud because there’s no evidence.

What were the protesters targeting?
A joint session of Congress was being held to certify Mr Biden’s election victory on 3 November.

The proceedings are usually brief and ceremonial but Republican lawmakers have been objecting to some results.

For days Mr Trump had also been piling pressure on Mr Pence, who was presiding over the session, to block certification of the result. “Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!” the president tweeted on Wednesday.

But in a letter to Congress, Mr Pence said that he had no “unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted”.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell also definitively broke with Mr Trump in an emotional speech from the chamber floor.

The Kentucky senator warned: “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.”

After the session resumed, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer blasted the mob at the Capitol as “rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, domestic terrorists”.

He said the president “bears a great deal of the blame”.

Senator Kelly Loeffler, who lost her bid for election in Georgia’s vote on Tuesday, said she could no longer in good conscience vote against certification as she had originally planned, citing the “abhorrent” invasion of the Capitol.

What’s the reaction?
Political figures across the world expressed shock. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned “disgraceful scenes” and called for a “peaceful and orderly transfer of power”.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: “Trump and his supporters must accept the decision of American voters at last and stop trampling on democracy.”

World reacts to ‘attack on US democracy’
And former US President George W Bush said in a statement: “It is a sickening & heartbreaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic.”

Former President Barack Obama said in a statement that history would rightly remember the assault on the Capitol as “as a moment of great dishonour and shame for our nation”.