Tear gas explodes during a protest against the certification of the 2020 US pressidential elections results. Picture: Reuters
Tear gas explodes during a protest against the certification of the 2020 US pressidential elections results. Picture: Reuters

Some Trump supporters expected in court, as police hunt for more who stormed US Capitol

By Reuters Time of article published Jan 7, 2021

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Sarah N. Lynch

Washington - The first round of President Donald Trump's supporters who stormed the US Capitol in a brazen attack on the seat of government were due in court to face charges on Thursday, as police stepped up their search for perpetrators of violence.

In a late-night news conference, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said 47 of the 52 arrests to date were related to violations of Mayor Muriel Bowser's 6pm curfew, with 26 of those involving people arrested on U.S. Capitol grounds.

Several others were arrested on charges related to carrying unlicensed or prohibited firearms.

It was not immediately clear how many people would be arraigned on Thursday.

Contee told reporters late on Wednesday that two pipe bombs were recovered from the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic national committees, as well as a cooler from a vehicle on US Capitol grounds that contained Molotov cocktails.

A total of four people died on Wednesday during the chaos at the Capitol, including one woman who was shot by a Capitol Police officer.

Three other people also died on Wednesday because of medical emergencies, he added, and 14 police officers were injured - two of whom remained hospitalized.

It was not clear whether other federal or local police agencies, including the Capitol Police, had made additional arrests.

While the number of people arrested is expected to grow, the initial number paled in comparison with the more than 300 people arrested by police following the June 1 protests in the District of Columbia related to the police killing of George Floyd.

In that incident, baton-swinging police and federal agents fired smoke canisters, flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets to drive protesters farther from the White House, enabling Trump to walk across Lafayette Square and hold up a Bible in front of historic St. John’s Church.

While law enforcement officers were severely criticized for being too aggressive at Lafayette Square, however, the Capitol Police are now facing questions about why they did not do more to secure the Capitol and let many of the rioters later exit the building without arrests.

Mayor Bowser said police intend to ask the public for help in identifying rioters, many of whom posed for photos inside the Capitol and can be seen in viral videos on social media without masks.

"We will be on the lookout," she said. "Some of them, we think ... have to be held accountable for the carnage."

Late on Wednesday, the FBI also asked the public to submit tips, such as images, videos and other information, to help agents identify people who were "actively instigating violence."

Bowser also extended a public emergency declaration for 15 days, an action she said will allow her to restrict peoples' movements around the city if necessary. Democrat President-elect Joe Biden is slated to take the oath of office on January 20, 13 days from Thursday.

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