Unprecedented and extraordinary scenes erupted afternoon in Washington with pro-Trump protesters storming the Congress where there were also reports of an armed stand-off between some Trump supporters and Capitol police.
A joint session of the House and Senate was underway to ratify the Electoral College’s votes to declare Democrat Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.
As the protests flared up Washington was placed under lockdown over fears of violence. A curfew was also put in effect as police in the Capitol called for back-up.
This happened shortly after a rally outside the Congress building during which the outgoing president Donald Trump fired up his supporters by repeating his unsubstantiated claims that November's presidential election was rigged and stolen from him.
He also again called on Vice-President Mike Pence not to ratify the Biden victory in his role as president of the Congress.
Mr Pence has a ceremonial role to confirm the Electoral College count in which Mr Biden has secured 306 votes to Mr Trump's 232.
Mr Trump has demanded that Mr Pence "come through" for him, a demand which he repeated during Wednesday afternoon's rally.
However, the Vice-President uncharacteristically defied Donald Trump's call to reject the election outcome.
He issued a statement saying he could not claim "unilateral authority" to reject electoral votes.
The Republicans' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who had previously recognised Mr Biden's victory, albeit somewhat belatedly, restated his position during Wednesday's meeting and appealed to his Republican colleagues to do likewise.
But the session was interrupted when Mr Trump's supporters breached security and invaded the Congress.
Police subsequently evacuated the building.
Mr Trump, who’s inflammatory rhetoric during the rally is blamed for firing up his supporters, later posted a Tweet calling on the protestors to be ‘peaceful’, although he is widely seen as the instigator of the demonstration.