The Capitol riot in photos

Rioters storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021
Chaos in the Senate Chamber
Violence inside the U.S. Capitol
How did this happen?
Trump's speech on January 6
Protest in front of the White House
Thousands of protesters
Incitement of the protesters
The rally was only the beginning
Pro-Trumpers from all directions
Meanwhile on the Senate Floor...
Some Republicans reject the election outcome
Mike Pence disobeys Trump's orders
Approaching the Capitol building
American flags, militias and Proud Boys
Gallows
Tensions rising
Confrontations with the police
Police overwhelmed
Tear gas and smoke bombs
Police at the Capitol building
Fights with the police
Storming the Capitol
Rioters break the windows of the Capitol
Entering the Senate building
Capitol security overwhelmed
Mob
Red flags in the Capitol
Threatened security officers
Clash of cultures
Selfies from rioters
No fear to get recognized
Instantly famous
Looking for the Senate Chamber
The vote is halted
Disturbances outside
A standoff at the door
Fleeing the floor
Fights in the chamber
Evacuation of the gallery
Rioters trying to get in
The Senate and House seats overtaken
Invasion of the Senate chamber
Breach of security
Evacuations and barricades
One or more explosive devices
Fights continue outside
Joe Biden addresses the nation before President Trump
Trump's mixed message about the riot in the Capitol
Trump banned from Twitter
End of a deadly riot
At the end of the day, representatives return to a messy Capitol
Rioters storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021

The world watched in real time how a demonstration against the verification of Joe Biden's election as the new U.S. president escalated into a storming of the U.S. capitol. The event led to the impeachment of President Donald Trump, as he was considered the instigator of the insurrection.

Chaos in the Senate Chamber

Rioters entered the Capitol, stormed the halls and congress people's office spaces, and finally reached the Senate Chamber where Congress was holding its verification of the electoral college votes that afternoon.

Violence inside the U.S. Capitol

It went as far as an exchange of fire, in which one woman was fatally wounded by the police, NBC reported in the evening. Three other insurrectionists and one police officer would not survive the day either.

How did this happen?

How did the protesters get this far? How did their rejection of the electoral outcome lead to a violent riot? And what was President Donald Trump's role in the assault?

Trump's speech on January 6

Earlier that day, President Donald Trump addressed a crowd of supporters in what his team dubbed "the march to save America." He said that the elections had been a fraud and emphasized: "We will never concede."

Protest in front of the White House

Standing in front of the White House, which he occupies until Joe Biden is sworn in as the new President on January 20, Trump repeated his long-held false claim that the election had been "stolen" from him as presidential candidate and the Republican Party as a whole.

Thousands of protesters

Thousands of Trump-supporters had come to the American capital city to protest the approval of the November 2020 election results. Chanting "Stop the Steal" and "Trump Won," they hoped to put enough pressure on Republican Senators and Congress people to reject the outcome of the electoral college vote in the Capitol building that afternoon.

Incitement of the protesters

"We’re gonna walk down to the Capitol," CNN cited the President as saying. "And we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of [our Senators and Congressmen and women], because you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong."

The rally was only the beginning

After the rally ended, the crowd began to march toward the Capitol, the building where Congress meets and which is about two miles from the White House. "Whose Capitol? Our Capitol!" they chanted.

Pro-Trumpers from all directions

The crowd that approached Capitol Hill included supporters of the police, proclaimed anti-communists, and protesters waving Confederate flags. Other pro-Trumpers were from the Christian right. Some held banners stating that House leader Nancy Pelosi (of the Democratic Party) was "Satan."

Meanwhile on the Senate Floor...

Inside the building, the verification of the votes by the electoral college was just beginning. This is normally a routine matter and not a big news event.

Some Republicans reject the election outcome

In 2021, however, tensions had been building up before this Congressional meeting, as several Republican members of the House and Senate had announced that they would not approve the verification of the counted votes on January 6.

Mike Pence disobeys Trump's orders

Despite pressure from President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence decided he would not be one of those Republican dissenters. At the beginning of the meeting, he declared that he would respect the outcome of the elections.

Approaching the Capitol building

As Trump supporters approached the Capitol, they seemed to be just a group of protesters like many others in Washington DC.

American flags, militias and Proud Boys

However, as NBC News reported, there was a core of Proud Boys (an extreme-right organization) as well as several militias among the frontrunners of the crowd.

Gallows

There were also very explicit and morbid signs among the crowd, such as gallows symbolizing the mob's desire to 'hang' the 'traitors' who planned to vote in support of Joe Biden's electoral victory.

Tensions rising

Aggressive rioters mixed with a crowd of people who were disappointed in the election result and misled by claims of the Trump team that the voting and counting processes had been fraudulent.

Confrontations with the police

Local police forces fenced off the terrain of the U.S. Capitol, but the demonstrators in the front did not respect those boundaries. They continued to chant: "Whose Capitol? Our Capitol!"

Police overwhelmed

The mass of angry Trump supporters was too strong for the police and security personnel outside the Capitol. The fences went down.

Tear gas and smoke bombs

The police used tear gas, pepper spray, and flash grenades (smoke bombs) in an attempt to deter the mob.

Police at the Capitol building

The police were heavily armed but outnumbered by the rioters.

Fights with the police

Clashes between police and rioters followed.

Storming the Capitol

Having passed the police line, people at the front of the crowd started climbing the steps and walls of the Capitol building.

Rioters break the windows of the Capitol

They entered the Capitol through broken windows as well as its main entry, passing by the metal detectors and the overwhelmed security personnel.

Entering the Senate building

The most fervent Trump supporters reached the entrances of the building first.

Capitol security overwhelmed

Overwhelmed Capitol police had to let the rioters pass. It was impossible to arrest them all, police officers would later report to news media and the Jan. 6 House Committee.

Mob

Once inside, an unruly mob began filling the corridors and stairways of the Capitol building.

Red flags in the Capitol

Classic paintings in marble stairways became the backdrop of MAGA hats and Trump flags.

Threatened security officers

It was a completely unprecedented situation to which Capitol security found it really hard to react.

Clash of cultures

Security personnel, as well as the historical figures whose portraits don the walls of the Capitol building, had to stand and watch as men with bottled drinks, cameras and (Confederate) flags in their hands walked around and made themselves at home.

Selfies from rioters

Many of them simply entered the offices and open spaces they could access, waving their flags, taking artifacts from the hallways and meeting rooms, and making selfies or videos while moving through the building.

No fear to get recognized

The selfies and other photos of the rioters would later come in handy, as the police was able to trace many of them through their social media posts or with help of people who recognized them from the footage.

Instantly famous

This man, who took the lectern of the Speaker of the House with him as a souvenir, was an instant celebrity.

Looking for the Senate Chamber

Less clownesk but more dangerous, a group of rioters went to look for the Senators and Congressmen and -women who were meeting on the House floor at that moment.

The vote is halted

Various representatives would later report to NBC News that they heard the noise of disturbances outside the House Chamber but did not expect it to be any different from the usual protests in the assembly building.

Disturbances outside

Soon enough though, the emergency was obvious to everyone in the chamber.

A standoff at the door

When rioters attempted to enter the House Chamber, security personnel blocked the the door with a chest and threatened to shoot the intruders.

Fleeing the floor

Members of the Senate and House, as well as other attendees of the proceedings, fled the room.

Fights in the chamber

On their way out, they took shelter while arms were fired.

(In the picture: Rep. Dan Meuser, R-PA)

Evacuation of the gallery

Some picked up the gas masks that are regularly below their seats. They were needed as the police fired tear gas and flash grenades in the building.

Rioters trying to get in

The rioters seemed undeterred by the weaponry.

The Senate and House seats overtaken

The Senate and House Chambers were quickly emptied. Documents were left in the same place where the evacuated representatives had left them. Rioters entering the chambers could now look through or take them.

Invasion of the Senate chamber

The Senate Chamber became the stage of an alien invasion.

Breach of security

Showing little respect for the workplace of Congress, rioters sat down in the chairs, went through the papers and took photos. Some would even steal computers, causing a major security threat.

Evacuations and barricades

Members of the House and the Senate were evacuated to a secret location within the terrain of the Capitol building, where they had to stay for hours. Remaining Capitol staff barricaded the doors of their offices. They would later testify about the terrors they experienced while the Capitol was being stormed.

One or more explosive devices

Secret Service and police checked the building and guarded the House and Senate members. Over the course of the occupation, they found at least one explosive device in the complex, PBS reported.

Fights continue outside

Both within and outside the Capitol building, the struggle continued. Security personnel and police could not keep away the angry mob. The mayor of Washington DC called for the support of police forces in neighboring states as well as the National Guard.

Joe Biden addresses the nation before President Trump

President Trump kept awfully quiet during the hours of rioting. It was President-elect Joe Biden who spoke to the American people first. Clearly in an angry and disappointed state, Biden told the mob and the concerned public that "enough is enough."

Trump's mixed message about the riot in the Capitol

Shortly after Biden, Donald Trump appeared with his own video message, on Twitter. He asked the rioters to "go home," but he also repeated his false claim that the elections had been "robbed" and added that he "loved" the crowd that was attacking the Capitol. Critics argued that his tone and word choice suggested he was not quite convinced of his own message.

Trump banned from Twitter

Twitter responded to Trump's message by banning him for twelve hours. Later it would ban him indefinitely. The reason for the sanction was his attempt to spread misinformation about the elections. It was the first time that Twitter took such a strict measure against the president.

Read more about Trump's controversial Twitter messages

End of a deadly riot

It took several more hours for tranquility to return in the U.S. Capitol. The mayor of Washington DC imposed a curfew at 6pm. Later it would become clear that five people had died during the storming of the Capitol. One of them was a police officer, the other four were rioters.

At the end of the day, representatives return to a messy Capitol

At eight o'clock in the evening, the Senate and House of Representatives returned to the chamber and continued their verification of the electoral votes. The mob had not scared them away.

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