Congress resumes the confirmation process for Biden victory under heavy guard
Hundreds of supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed Congress on Wednesday, seeking to force lawmakers to alter the president's election loss.
But after hours of chaos and police struggling to regain control, lawmakers returned to Congress to resume the approval process for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.
In the worst assault on the symbol of American democracy in more than 200 years, protesters stormed metal security barriers, broke windows and climbed fences, to forge their way into the Congress building, where they wandered the corridors and clashed with the police.
Police said four people were killed in the chaos, including a woman with a gunshot wound and three people due to a medical emergency.
Some surrounded the Chamber of Deputies while the members were inside, and started knocking on its doors.
Security officers piled furniture behind the door and raised their weapons before helping the members to flee.
By Wednesday night, both chambers of Congress had resumed discussions on certifying Biden's electoral college vote, and it soon became apparent that the objections of pro-Trump Republicans to Biden's victory in crucial states would be rejected by an overwhelming majority, including by most Republicans.
"I say to those who wreaked havoc in the Congress building today, you haven't won," said US Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the session, as it resumed.
"We will confirm the winner of the 2020 elections," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, describing the attack by Trump supporters as a "failed insurgency."
Washington police said a woman was shot dead during the chaos, although the circumstances were not clear.
The captain of the Metropolitan Police Department, Robert Conte, said three people had died of a medical emergency.
The Congress building descended into chaos after Trump repeated, during his speech to thousands of his supporters near the White House, his unfounded allegations of stealing the elections from him due to widespread fraud and irregularities.
Trump told his supporters that they should head toward the Congress to express their anger over the voting process, pressure the elected officials to reject the results, and urge them to "fight."
Trump was criticized by some prominent Republicans in Congress, who held him directly responsible for the violence.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton called on Trump to recognize the loss of the election and "stop misleading the American people and renounce mob violence."
The Senate overwhelmingly rejected the objection of Trump's allies to assert Biden's victory in Arizona in the presidential election.
The council voted 93 to six, rejecting the objection.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives rejected the measure by 303 to 121.
After the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that both houses of Congress would resume consideration of the electoral college results.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a curfew around the city from 6 pm (2300 GMT).
National Guard, FBI and Secret Service officers were deployed to assist Congressional police, and troops and police pushed protesters away from the building after the curfew began.
Video footage showed Trump supporters smashing windows and police firing tear gas into the building.
Biden, who is due to take office on January 20, said the protesters' actions amounted to inciting a revolt.
He added that the demonstrators stormed the Congress building, smashed windows, occupied offices, and threatened the safety of elected officials, "This is not a protest, this is a rebellion."
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