US President-elect Joe Biden was forced to address the nation after pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol in Washington yesterday.
Congress members were due to confirm Biden’s election win but barely believable scenes of chaos streamed across global TV networks as demonstrators breached security to occupy the building.
Outgoing president Donald Trump had earlier addressed supporters outside the White House at a rally calling for a protest of the election result.
With law enforcement officers struggling to gain control the Congress joint session was suspended as members were evacuated or ordered to remain in offices.
At the time of going to press there were reports of a person being critically injured after being shot.
Biden, in an astonishing TV address, called for an end to the violent protest.
“The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are… This is not dissent, its disorder. It’s chaos, it borders on sedition and it must end, now,” he said.
Clearly angered, but measured, Biden continued, “The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best the words of a president can inspire, at their worst they can incite. Therefore, 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 added, “The world is watching. Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation, so long a beacon of light and hope for democracy, has come to such a dark moment… Through war and strife, America has endured much and we will prevail again.”
Biden called on Trump to “step up” and stop the violence.
In a tweeted video, Trump repeated his claims of electoral fraud.
“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us… But you have to go home now. We have to have peace,” he said.
Trump’s actions came on a day when the Democratic Party won control of the Senate.
Democrats control the Senate and House of Representatives for the first time since 2009