January 6, 2021: United States Capitol Siege Recap
On January 6, Congress was holding a meeting at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. to officially certify Joseph R. Biden as the 46th President of the United States. Right outside the Capitol, was a group of people, supporters of President Trump. The group was coming back from a Trump rally and were protesting against the certification of Joe Biden as President. No one was prepared for what was about to happen next.
Members of the mob stormed up to the doors of the Capitol, breaching the security checkpoints and breaking through barricades. According to ABC News, “law enforcement vehicles raced to the Capitol in an effort to beat the mob there.” They began to break windows and doors to obtain entrances into the building. Once they were inside, they began to violently rampage the halls, resulting in lawmakers being forced to go into lockdown for the safety of themselves and their staff.
“Lawmakers were forced to retrieve gas masks from under their seats as tear gas was released into the rotunda,” says ABC News. The Trump supporters began looting and destroying the offices of lawmakers, breaking doors along the way. Offices were completely vandalized by the mob of people. ABC News says the supporters were “repeating the false rhetoric that the president has spread since November -- that Trump was the real winner of the election.”
The rioters weren’t very keen on news reporters being at the scene of the Capitol siege, going as far as to write “murder the media” on one of the doors. Two Washington Post video journalists, Whitney Leaming and Zoeann Murphy were momentarily arrested while they were doing their jobs. CNN released a video on January 10 of one of their own crews, who was at the Capitol covering the Capitol siege. CNN’s Alex Marquardt and his crew captured the moments they were scolded, threatened, and even harassed by the pro-Trump mob. The mob began to yell at the news crew, screaming graphic language, and even lunging at one of the members of the camera crew, pushing the camera, telling them to “get out.”
Many people wondered why there wasn’t more security or stronger security at the Capitol. A video surfaced from the riot showing police officers taking pictures with pro-Trump rioters. Two Capitol Police officers have since been suspended, while at least 10 officers are under investigation due to their alleged roles in the riot. According to CNN, “federal agents will look at whether current and former law enforcement officers played a role in the riot.” One rioter even told a CNN reporter that some of the Police were being “very cool” and told them to “have a good night.” The man then told the same reporter that “you could see that some of them are on our side.” The rioters frequently clashed with groups of Police officers as tear gas was immersed around them. Still, the rioters “felt like they were doing something good,” said CNN.
A number of rioters could be heard chanting “U.S.A.” while breaching and assaulting Capitol Hill. Many of them were also seen holding large American flags, flying them high above the huge crowd of people. That wasn’t the only flag that was flown that day, though. Various right-wing flags were at the Capitol that day including Confederate flags, Trump flags, and even the infamous flag dating back to the American Revolution, the Gadsden flag.
According to The New York Times, it was “outrageous” to see someone carrying the Confederate flag inside the U.S. Capitol. Historians say that it’s something “not even Confederate soldiers were able to do during the Civil War.”
“A Muslim American college student said he had fought back tears when he saw the image of a Trump supporter carrying the Confederate battle flag” and a “Black Senate aide” who has ”walked confidently through the halls of Congress said his feelings of safety had crumbled,” says The New York Times.
American historian and history professor, Mary Frances Berry, told The New York Times that she had felt “disgust” and recalled “wanting to scream.” According to The New York Times, an unidentified man “carried the emblem of racism through the Ohio Clock corridor, past a portrait of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts." Senator Charles Sumner was an abolitionist.
2021 is a year that is making history with the first African American and South Asian female Vice President. The riots at the Capitol also made history as something the country has never seen before. Symbols of hate flew through Capitol Hill only two weeks before President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be there for the inauguration. January 6, 2021, marked an important day in the history of the United States.