Skyler Leathrum, Correspondent
The U.S. Congress convened on Jan. 6 to certify the results of the presidential election, but was interrupted by a mob of pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol Building, delaying certification until the next morning.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was certified as the winner, with 306 electoral votes to incumbent President Donald Trump’s 232.
Certifying the Electoral College count is a routine event laid out in the U.S. Constitution. Several members of Congress objected to the certification of numerous states, perpetuating false claims of widespread voter fraud.
The certification was interrupted by a group of pro-Trump rioters, who stormed the U.S. Capitol after attending a nearby “Save America March” rally, of which the outgoing president spoke at. The riot resulted in the death of five people.
The demonstration was primarily organized on social media, including the social media platform Parler. Parler has made headlines recently, as many vocal conservatives have left other social media sites due to perceived censorship.
Photojournalist John Farina said on CNN that “whenever someone was hurt, they would kind of pull them out of there or they would walk out themselves,” speaking of the time he filmed rioters clashing with Capitol police.
Platforms such as Parler and Telegram were flooded with posts about the demonstration, with mention of bringing weapons. One user wrote that “Yes, it’s illegal, but this is war and we’re clearly in a post-legal phase of our society” in encouragement of protesters bringing guns to the Capitol.
Eventually, members of Congress and others in the Capitol were ordered to evacuate as the rioters made their way further into the building. Photos and videos from the incident showed windows of the House chamber broken in an attempt to gain access to the floor, of which some were successful.
After a curfew was enacted in the District of Columbia, federal agents in collaboration with Capitol Police quelled the riots, clearing the way for Congress to reconvene and continue certification into the next day.