Trump supporters storm US Capitol

President’s supporters storm Capitol Hill, forcing lockdown on parts of complex as Congress debated certifying election results

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Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, forcing a lockdown on the Hill as Congress debated certifying the presidential election results.

They vastly outnumbered the Capitol Hill police force, and made their way up the steps and into the building.

The Secret Service escorted Vice President Mike Pence from the Senate floor as rioters broke through security lines.

The security breach forced the House and the Senate into a recess in the middle of a debate over certifying president-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.

It was unclear whether the rioters had any immediate objective, but the breach places them close to US politicians and the vice president.

In response, the Mayor of Washington, Muriel Bowser, ordered a curfew in the nation’s capital, starting at 6pm on Wednesday. The order extends to 6am on Thursday.

The siege on Capitol Hill came after Mr Trump held a rally in front of thousands of his supporters at the Capitol, urging Mr Pence and Congress to overturn the election results.

Far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys have joined the throngs of pro-Trump protesters demanding that Congress overturn the election results based on his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Protesters on Capitol Hill steps waved American flags, Trump flags and the yellow Gadsden flag, which bears a coiled snake with the phrase, “Don’t tread on me.”

The Gadsden flag was designed as an anti-British symbol during the American Revolution.

It became popular in South Carolina in the lead-up to the Civil War.

In the modern US, it has become popular among conservatives and libertarians who associate it with gun rights and opposition to government restrictions.

Protesters were also waving Confederate flags.

Elaine Luria, a Democratic representative, tweeted that she had to abandon her office over reports of a pipe bomb.

In the middle of the chaos, Mr Trump tweeted an attack on Mr Pence for refusing to block the certification, something the vice president has no power to do.

Mr Trump did ask protestors to respect local law enforcement during the demonstration.

Everyone in the Capitol complex has been told to shelter in place because of internal threats as Mr Trump’s supporters roam through the building.