(KUTV) — Protestors gathered outside of the Utah State Capitol building on Wednesday as Congress was scheduled to verify the results of the 2020 presidential election. No violence has been reported.
The Utah Highway Patrol posted on Twitter, saying there is no mandatory evacuation at the Capitol
Please help us in getting ahead of inaccurate information regarding the State Capitol. The was NO MANDATORY EVACUATION of employees or elected leaders from the Capitol. An early work release was offered at 2 pm, and many took advantage of that. Thank you.
This comes as dozens of people have breached security perimeters at the Capitol, forcing the lockdown of the building and halting the vote to certify Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
An announcement was played inside the Capitol as lawmakers were meeting to affirm Biden's victory. Due to an "external security threat," no one could enter or exit the Capitol complex, the recording said.
Both chambers abruptly went into recess. Protestors then breached the building.
Videos posted earlier on social media showed protesters fighting with Capitol Police near barriers blocking off access to the building.
The National Guard, along with other federal protective services, have been deployed to D.C.
President Donald Trump released a message to protesters who breached security at the U.S. Capitol urging them to follow instructions of police and to avoid violence, while also inaccurately stating that the election was "stolen."
The session for confirm the Electoral College vote is typically a routine proceeding and is the last procedural hurdle before inauguration.
Rep. John Curtis posted on Twitter, saying he is safe and what's happening at the U.S. Capitol is "totally inappropriate."
"The United States Capitol is the Temple of Liberty and should be treated with respect & honor. The riots both in and outside the building are unacceptable and un-American. The President owes it to the American people to publicly call for an end to these riots. If this were in any other country, we would be condemning these actions and calling for their leaders to stop the violence. Those protesting say they are doing so in the best interest of America—but if that were true, they would end their assault on this sacred institution," Curtis said.
Sen. Mike Lee said, "...the Senate will continue the work of the American people immediately."
"The violence at the United States Capitol is completely unacceptable. It is time for the protesters to disperse. My staff and I are safe. We are working to finish our constitutional duty to finish counting votes today. God bless the Capitol Police keeping us all safe," he wrote.
Whether we get back in the chamber or convene in a different location, the Senate should continue the work of the American people immediately. This outrage cannot be allowed to disrupt that work for a minute longer.
Rep. Chris Stewart said, "Protestors who are breaking windows, threatening violence, and accosting police are behaving inexcusably. It is un-American. This must stop now!"
"Watching & hearing what's going on here continues to make me sick & angry. I've spent my life in the military & serving my country in Congress. I understand people's fears & frustrations over the election. But nothing excuses this behavior. Its selfish & destructive. Stop it now!" Stewart said.
Rep. Burgess Owens said he is "deeply saddened by what is happening" in Washington D.C.
"My team and I are safe and beyond grateful for the service of Capitol Police. I am deeply saddened by what is happening right now. Americans are better than this. Senseless violence is NEVER okay. We have to do better," Owens posted on Twitter.
Former Sen. Orrin Hatch released the following statement:
Without any pause, caveat, or equivocation, I condemn the riots taking place at the US Capitol. The Capitol symbolizes the beating heart of American democracy. It’s where we convene in the spirit of civility and compromise to hash out our greatest differences and move legislation forward. The lawless incursion on our Capitol is both a physical and spiritual attack on an institution I love—an institution I spent more than four decades protecting.
Enough is enough. Our institutions are undergoing a stress test that they can only survive if our elected officials show unity in this critical moment. We are a nation of laws, not individuals—and the foremost responsibility of every member of Congress is to uphold our Constitution and the integrity of the democratic process."
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall condemned the protests at the nation's capitol, calling it "disgraceful."