An improvised explosive device is reported to have been found at the US Capitol as one person was shot and several people were taken to hospital after supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump descended on the US Capitol.
Both chambers of Congress in Washington DC were abruptly recessed on Wednesday as they debated president-elect Joe Biden’s win in November’s election – which Mr Trump continues to dispute.
The White House revealed the US National Guard had been called in by Mr Trump following violent clashes between protestors and Washington DC police.
NBC reported several officials had said at least one improvised explosive device had been found on US Capitol grounds.
Local emergency services said one person was in a critical condition after being shot and at least five people – including a law enforcement officer – had been taken to hospital.
Mr Trump used Twitter to call for those at the US Capitol to “remain peaceful”, although he did not ask them to disperse and go home.
US Vice President Mike Pence also called for the “violence and destruction” to stop and warned “this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump – the president’s daughter and adviser – deleted a tweeted referring to “American Patriots” before she posted another tweet condemning “unacceptable” violence.
Mr Biden called for “this mob” to “pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward”.
A 12-hour curfew, beginning from 6pm local time, has been ordered in Washington DC by the city’s mayor.
The events outside the US Capitol brought international condemnation, with NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg describing them as “shocking scenes”.
“The outcome of this democratic election must be respected,” he said.