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On Wednesday, as the U.S. House of Representatives gathered to certify the electoral college votes to name Joe Biden the next president of the United States, an enraged crowd surrounded the U.S. Capitol, breaching its doors, breaking windows, and swarming the House Chambers, forcing legislators, staff, and the press to shelter in place and evacuate. Four people died during the insurrection, including one woman who was shot, and more than a dozen police officers were injured.
As the shocking scene unfolded live on television and across social media, the rioters were seen marching into the Capitol Hall, overwhelming police and security officers as they trespassed on federal property. One individual took the podium in the House Chambers and falsely proclaimed that the election was stolen from President Donald Trump. Others breached the private offices of legislators, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and gleefully posed for photographs, seemingly unaware that they were committing federal crimes.
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From inside the Capitol, Colorado’s congressional delegation updated followers on their status and the events that were unfolding.
I’m currently in lockdown in the House chamber as the President of the United States incites his supporters to violence and to storm the Capitol. This is the outcome of Trump’s presidency.
— Rep. Jason Crow (@RepJasonCrow) January 6, 2021
Later, Crow (D, 6th Congressional District) tweeted an update that he was trapped in the House Chamber when rioters tried to ram the doors down and storm the Chamber.
This is what it has come to. pic.twitter.com/nYlGeKemAf
— Rep. Jason Crow (@RepJasonCrow) January 6, 2021
In a video posted on Twitter, Colorado’s 4th Congressional District Representative Ken Buck (R) said, that while he and his staff are fine, he urged the rioters to stop the violence. “We can not tolerate anarchy,” he said.
This is not a protest, this is anarchy. This needs to stop, it’s un-American. pic.twitter.com/AXkDnMnMEz
— Rep. Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) January 6, 2021
Colorado’s 1st Congressional District Representative Diana DeGette (D) tweeted that she was safe and locked down “because the president has instigated a riot to try to block us from certifying the election for his opponent.” She later tweeted that she was evacuated to an undisclosed location.
We have been evacuated from the House chamber and moved to a safe location.
This isn’t a protest. This is an attempted coup.
I never thought we’d see such anarchy spurred by our own president.
— Rep. Diana DeGette (@RepDianaDeGette) January 6, 2021
The assault on the Capitol came just hours after President Trump spoke to hundreds of supporters gathered on the National Mall for the Save America March. In a rambling call to action, Trump reiterated false claims that the election was stolen from him, and repeatedly encouraged Vice President Mike Pence, who presides over the certification process, and Republican legislators to somehow overthrow the results. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”
Demonstrators from the event followed the president’s urging to march to Capitol Hill to “give our Republicans the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
Shortly before the mayhem began, Colorado’s newly minted Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (4th Congressional District) and 5th Congressional District Representative Doug Lamborn joined the group of Republicans in challenging the electoral college votes from Arizona. In a loud and widely inaccurate speech on the floor, Boebert falsely claimed that the state unlawfully amended its voter laws by extending the registration period.
Boebert’s speech was followed by Representative Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Boulder, who said, “In the United States, we accept the results of free and fair elections…We don’t ignore the will of the voters.”
As events unfolded in Washington, a crowd gathered outside the Colorado State Capitol for the “We Are the Storm” rally swelled from around 150 at noon to an estimated 700 by 2 p.m. According to Colorado Newsline reporter Chase Woodruff, who was on the scene, as speakers took the microphone, they kept those gathered apprised of what was unfolding at the nation’s Capitol.
Hundreds here, mood is celebratory. Militia types and Proud Boys lingering on the edges of the crowd pic.twitter.com/0Fv48Qvi0r
— Chase Woodruff (@dcwoodruff) January 6, 2021
While the demonstrations in Denver have remained peaceful, around 2:15 p.m., Mayor Hancock instructed city agencies to close municipal buildings “out of an abundance of caution.”
My hope is that this situation will be resolved quickly. Pray for our nation. (3/3)
— Michael B. Hancock (@MayorHancock) January 6, 2021
The police presence at the state Capitol was light at first, but Colorado Public Radio reporter Allison Sherry later tweeted that the FBI were involved.
Source just confirmed that FBI is working closely with Denver Police right now to monitor events at the state Capitol and elsewhere in Colorado.
— Allison Sherry (@allisonsherry) January 6, 2021
On Wednesday afternoon, while Trump doubled down on his election delusions, President-elect Joe Biden addressed the nation, calling for the extremists to “pull back and allow democracy to go forward.”
“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” Biden said. “Today is a reminder—a painful one—that democracy is fragile. To preserve it, requires people of goodwill, leaders with the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to the pursuit of power, or their personal interest—their own selfish interests—but to the common good.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.