On January 6, 2021, supporters of the current US President Donald Trump broke into the Capitol building, where a joint meeting of both houses of Congress was taking place. At this time, senators and members of the House of Representatives were debating the demand of several Republican congressmen not to recognize the results of the presidential election in Arizona — where the electors gave votes to Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Congressmen, Capitol staff and journalists in the building were evacuated, and Trump supporters seized meeting rooms and offices, where they staged a pogrom.

This is a unique case in the history of the United States. The last time the U.S. Capitol was attacked on a full scale was in 1814 during the Anglo-American War. Then British troops captured Washington and burned many government buildings, including the White House and the Capitol.

However, since then, individuals and groups of people have staged or attempted to stage a terrorist attack or attack on congressmen on several occasions. The most famous incident occurred in March 1954, when five members of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, which advocated independence from the United States, stormed into the Chamber of the House of Representatives and opened fire with automatic weapons, wounding five congressmen. In March 1971, members of the radical left-wing organization Weather Underground detonated a bomb on the first floor of the Capitol in protest against the bombing of Laos by US aircraft. And in July 1998, a man with a revolver broke into the Capitol building and shot two police officers.

экрана 2021 01 07 в 22.27.09
Reconstruction of the attack on the US House of Representatives meeting room, when Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire with automatic weapons and wounded five congressmen. March 1, 1954 // Everett Collection / Vida Press

After the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, when the Capitol could become one of the targets of terrorists, security measures in the building, as in other US government offices, were significantly strengthened. But on January 6, 2021, because of the pandemic, the Congress building had fewer employees than usual — including security guards.


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6 January 2021 в 19:27