WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A group of pro-Trump demonstrators breached the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon as lawmakers were convened to certify the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election, sending lawmakers into lockdown.

Maryland lawmakers were among those ushered to safety as the protesters entered the Capitol building.

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Rep. Kweisi Mfume called the protest “a dangerous coup attempt incited by Trump.”

“This is a physical attack on our democracy & a threat to national security. These anarchists & their leader must be arrested & tried with sedition. My staff is safe & on lockdown,” he said.

Rep. David Trone shared photos of himself on Twitter in a protective mask, saying he had been evacuated.

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“Let me be clear: we will not be stopped by this lawless intimidation,” he tweeted.

“Pouring the gasoline, lighting the match and then praising the firefighters. Really quite unfathomable that this chaos was instigated – encouraged – by the President of the United States. @POTUS needs to stop this now. His volatile words started it and he must end it peacefully,” Sen. Ben Cardin tweeted.

Also sheltering in place are Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger and Anthony Brown.

“This is a very sad day for our country. Mr. President, tell your supporters to stand down before someone gets seriously hurt,” Ruppersberger tweeted.

In an interview while sheltering in place, Ruppersberger echoed those comments, saying Trump is the one who can calm the chaos.

“We’ve got to tone it down, and I think the right person for that is President Trump,” Ruppersberger said, “and if he doesn’t do it, shame on him.”

He called for more law enforcement officials, including the National Guard, to be activated to bring the unrest to an end.

“This is a really sad day for our country,” Ruppersberger told WJZ. “I just can’t believe this is happening in the United States of America.. We’re the strongest country in the world, and we’re embarrassing ourselves.”

In the end, the protesters’ actions won’t affect the overall outcome of the election, he added.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen tweeted, “I cry for our country.”

 

“What’s going on is an outrageous assault on our democracy, on our capital and it is sadly fueled by a president who refused to accept the results of a democratic election,” Van Hollen told WJZ.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency raised its state activation level to partial at 3:30 p.m. due to the protests in DC.

Inside his office on capitol grounds, Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes condemned the violence.

“It was sad to see that happen,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve ever encountered something like this.”

State Leaders React

Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted, “All Americans should be outraged by this attack on our nation’s Capitol. This is a heinous and violent assault on the heart of our democracy. I will not stand for this, and neither should any American.”

Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford, a Republican, tweeted it’s an “impeachable offense to incite violence as (Trump) has done.”

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott also weighed in.

“What we’re seeing on Capitol Hill today is an attack on our democracy and an act of treason. This is what white supremacy looks like,” he tweeted.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball issued a statement saying in part, “Today’s images from the U.S. Capitol were despicable and sickening. I defend any American’s right to peacefully protest, but the injuries incurred by protestors, disregard for the direction of the U.S. Capitol Police and blatant disrespect toward the ‘people’s house’ was not an act of protest but chaos and anarchy.”

Maryland State Senate President Bill Ferguson denounced the protests as “beyond a travesty.”

“This coup attempt is abhorrent criminal behavior. I’ve contacted Governor Hogan’s office to request the deployment of troops and support to help secure the US Capitol and keep the people of DC safe,” he tweeted.

Archbishop William Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore issued a statement calling for peace:

“Our hearts are heavy as we witness the shocking and unlawful protests occurring in our nation’s capital. We fervently pray for peace and for God’s protection over our country, our lawmakers, and all those in harm’s way this terrible day. May peace-loving Americans of good will throughout the United States come together to engender peace, reconciliation and healing in our wounded and broken nation, which remains and must always be one, under God.”

State Del. Dan Cox, meanwhile, tweeted, “Pence is a traitor.”

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Kelsey Kushner