An explosive device has reportedly been found and one person shot after supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump descended on the US Capitol.
In dramatic scences that have prompted international condemnation, supporters of the outgoing US president descended on the seat of America’s democracy on Wednesday.
The White House revealed the US National Guard had been called in by Mr Trump following violent clashes between protestors and Washington DC police.
Local emergency services said one person was in a critical condition after being shot and at least five people – including a law enforcement officer – had been taken to hospital.
And, according to an NBC report, several officials said at least one improvised explosive device had been found on US Capitol grounds.
Both chambers of Congress in Washington DC were abruptly recessed as they debated president-elect Joe Biden’s win in November’s election – which Mr Trump continues to dispute – before the violence flared.
In a minute-long video posted to his Twitter account, Mr Trump did not explicitly condemn the scenes of violence but urged those who had gathered at the US Capitol to disperse.
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“I know your pain, I know your hurt – we had an election that was stolen from us,” he said.
“It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.
“But you have to go home now, we have to have peace, we have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order.
“We don’t want anybody hurt, it’s a very tough period of time – there’s never been a period of time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us.
“From me, from you, from our country.”
Mr Biden demanded Mr Trump go on national television and “defend the constitution by demanding an end to this siege”.
The president-elect called for “this mob” to “pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward”.
US Vice President Mike Pence called for the “violence and destruction” to stop and warned “this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump – the president’s daughter and adviser – deleted a tweeted referring to “American Patriots” before she posted another tweet condemning “unacceptable” violence.
A 12-hour curfew, beginning from 6pm local time, has been ordered in Washington DC by the city’s mayor.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “disgraceful scenes”, adding: “The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”
NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg said: “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”