A Timeline of the Capitol Attack


Arielle Biran, Staff Writer

On January 6, 2020, America was attacked by terrorists. The assault wasn’t executed by a foreign extremist group, or an adversarial government, but by the supporters of President Trump in an attempt to thwart the electoral victory of President-elect Joe Biden.

The world was shocked and revolted by the leniency of the police with these Pro-Trump rioters in comparison to their brutality with the Black Lives Matter protestors this summer. The capitol building, a longstanding symbol of the supposed equality and fairness of our country was desecrated with hate symbols including Confederate flags and shirts emblazoned with neo-Nazi ideologies. 

What happened on this day was a deplorable obstruction of justice and it cannot be tolerated. The short time span in which these events took place is a testament to how quickly a bad situation can spiral out of control. Understanding the gravity of what has occurred is instrumental in bettering ourselves as a country, and ensuring that such a blatant display of hate never happens again.

1:55 p.m.

The U.S. Capitol Police began evacuating Congress officials from the building due to “police activity,” as thousands gathered outside of the Capitol to protest the electoral vote. 

2:20 p.m.

The Senate temporarily suspended its debate over an objection to the results of the Electoral College vote in response to the growing violence of the rioters. These rioters tore down metal barriers at the steps of the Capitol and were met by officers in riot gear armed with shields and pepper spray.

2:30 p.m.

The Capitol was breached.

2:45 p.m.

Lawmakers were quickly being evacuated from the Capitol, escorted by police officers and staff. The rioters could be seen marching through the halls, proudly waving American, Trump, and confederate flags. Images depicting the rioters with their flags in the Capitol’s stately Statuary Hall went viral on social media as a testament to the audacity of these dissidents.

3:00 p.m.

Rioters reached the Senate Chamber, climbing up on desks and yelling affirmations for their president, who had only half-heartedly addressed the situation by telling his supporters to “stay peaceful” after egging them on for weeks prior.

3:30 p.m.

A woman was shot as the rioters violently clashed with the police. Amid the calls from his foes and peers alike, President Trump still refused to tell his supporters to disperse, tweeting empty statements telling his supporters to “be peaceful.”

3:45 p.m.

The National Guard, The Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Protective Service, and U.S. Secret Service agents were all being sent to the scene.

4:05 p.m.

As President Trump still ignored calls for his direct condemnation of the events at the Capitol, Vice President Pence tweeted out, calling on protestors to leave the premises immediately, as did President-elect Joe Biden, who described it as “an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings.”

4:35 p.m.

At least one explosive device had been uncovered near the U.S. Capitol amid the violent occupation by the supporters of President Trump.

4:40 p.m.

At last, President Trump released a statement in which he cuddles and praises his supporters, calling his supporters “very special” and that “we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”

5:00 p.m.

The Washington D.C. Chief of Police confirmed that pro-Trump protesters deployed “chemical irritants” on police in order to break into the U.S. Capitol and that at least five weapons had been recovered and 13 arrests had been made, a stark comparison to the 14,000 arrests made during Black Lives Matter protests this summer.

5:30 p.m.

As the 6:00 curfew approached, police began to use tear gas and percussion grenades to remove the Pro-Trump rioters from the grounds. Dozens of skirmishes between the rioters and the officers broke out, with desperate scrambles to get back into the building, despite the fact that President Trump had already told his supporters to go home.

5:50 p.m.

After a four-hour violent occupation of the capital, officials were finally able to declare that the Capitol was secure, and the proceedings that the riots interrupted were rescheduled for a time that was deemed safe.

Though the physical attack on the Capitol is over, its effects still loom. This brazen display of hate for our country and its BIPOC communities is darkly ironic coming from a group of people that pride themselves on their patriotism.

This is only one of the many issues that we, as a nation, must face after the events of January 6. Only six days into the new year, 2021 has already proved to be just as disastrous as its predecessor. The only difference is that the fate of 2020 has already been sealed, while the blank pages 2021 stretch out ahead. The fate of this year is in our hands, and condemning the storming of the Capitol is our first step towards a safer future for all.