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Breach of US Capitol Building in Washington D.C. by supporters of outgoing president underlines escalation of violent anti-establishment sentiment among right-wing extremists

On 6 January, a group of several hundred supporters of outgoing President of the United States Donald Trump, some of them carrying firearms, breached the east side of the Capitol building in the US capital Washington D.C., gaining entry to the interior of the building, including the offices of US senators and the senate floor. Confrontations between protesters and police continued for several hours. One civilian was shot and killed, three others died during separate medical emergencies, 14 police officers were wounded, and one succumbed to his injuries the following day. The Metropolitan Police Department (MDP) announced that 52 individuals had been arrested by Friday morning.

The violent protesters, who had previously attended a rally held by President Trump – where he again repeated without evidence allegations that the Democratic Party and its presidential nominee Joseph Biden had won the November 2020 presidential election fraudulently – were likely attempting to halt a joint session of Congress convening in the building to certify Biden’s election victory. They alleged that Trump’s electoral victory had been stolen by election officials in various states. Trump has vocally and repeatedly challenged the election result, and vowed not to concede. The storming of the Capitol Building does not appear to have been widely premeditated or co-ordinated, but instead catalysed in the moment during a broader pre-planned protest at the Capitol. Nonetheless, Janes

A photograph depicting pro-Trump protesters attempting to enter the Capitol Building, glass on the doors of which has been damaged. (Tasos Katopodis via Getty Images.)

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