Washington DC riots: What happened?

Last updated at 09:03
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Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Capitol building

America saw big riots in Washington DC on Wednesday.

Donald Trump supporters forced their way into the US Capitol building, which is where the United States Congress meet to write laws for the country.

The riots turned violent, with protesters clashing with the police. Five people died during the events and a number of police officers were also injured.

So what exactly happened?
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Lawmakers in America met on Wednesday to count electoral votes to confirm Joe Biden's victory following the presidential election that took place in November last year. It's the final step before he is inaugurated and becomes president on the 20 January.

It was also confirmed that the Democratic party had taken political control of the Senate, which was previously under the control of the Republican Party.

Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff beat Republican candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue to win their seats following elections in the state of Georgia.

The victory marks the first time the Democrats will have been in control of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House since 2009 and it means president-elect Joe Biden will be able to push forward with his plans as President, such improving America's commitment to climate change.

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Lawmakers met on Wednesday to count electoral votes to confirm Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election

The shift of political power in Congress marks another loss for the Republican party whose current leader Donald Trump has continued to make claims that the election result last year was false because of fraud. However, there is no evidence that his claims are true.

Lots of people - mainly those in support of Trump - aren't happy that Biden got into power. President Trump had spoken to thousands of his supporters in Washington DC on Wednesday, urging them to march to the Capitol to protest the election result.

However, some of the protesters - some of them armed - decided to force their way into the Capitol building, bringing down barriers and climbing walls, forcing their way past security.

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Those who managed to enter the building shouted and waved pro-Trump and US flags as they made their way around the halls of the building, demanding that the results of the latest presidential election should be overturned.

Members of the Congress had to hide under seats as tear gas was fired and there were clashes between protesters and the police, with some turning violent.

Protesters occupied the building for more than three hours before it was successfully secured by law enforcement.

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What's been the reaction?

The events that took place in the Capitol building are unprecedented, which means they don't happen very often.

President-elect Joe Biden condemned the protesters' actions and said the events were an assault on democracy.

"To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices on the floor of the United States Senate, rummaging through desks, on the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly elected officials. It's not protest; it's insurrection," he said.

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The events saw some clashes between protestors and the police

Donald Trump also spoke on the events that took place in Washington DC. He posted a video on Twitter where he told those who took part in the riots to go leave the premises and go home. However, he's continued to make claims that election fraud took place.

"We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side," he said. "But you have to go home now. We have to have peace."

Other former presidents shared their thoughts on what happened. Barack Obama described the events at the Capitol as "as a moment of great dishonour and shame for our nation" in a statement and George W Bush described the events as "a sickening & heartbreaking sight".

What will happen now?

After the Capitol building was secured, lawmakers returned to the Senate to finish counting the electoral votes to confirm Biden's victory.

These proceedings are usually brief and ceremonial, but Republican lawmakers had objected some of the results which made the process longer than usual.

Joe Biden's victory was formally confirmed on Thursday morning and he'll be officially sworn in as president in two weeks.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also put out an appeal for help in identifying people who actively took part in the violence that happened in the Capitol building and surrounding areas on Wednesday.

Donald Trump has been suspended from Twitter and Facebook after tweeting to supporters who attacked the US Capitol.

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