Chaos has broken out within the US Capitol as pro-Trump supporters break into the building.
The ongoing special House and Senate sessions have been recessed amid the escalating clashes between protesters and police.
Lawmakers had gathered to confirm the election of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden – an outcome rejected by protesters.
Photos show demonstrators gathered just outside the Senate chamber. Other images show demonstrators carrying firearms.
Capitol Police have put the US Capitol Building on lockdown amid violent clashes between police and Trump supporters, gathered to protest the 2020 election results.
Footage shows demonstrators swarming the Capitol building, breaking the temporary barrier that had been put in place ahead of today’s events. US media describe some protesters climbing on parts of the Capitol building, attempting to get inside.
As Republicans in Congress push forward with an attempt to block the certification of election results, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell condemned his colleagues and warned they could “damage our Republic forever”.
Speaking directly to his party members on the Senate floor, McConnell urged them to reconsider their actions: “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.”
“The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken,” he said, pointing out none of the allegations posed by lawmakers could change the result – Joe Biden’s victory.
“We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids.”
The challenge to the election results is not likely to succeed, but it will prolong matters in the chamber.