Armed protesters are marching through the U.S. Capitol, while lawmakers are under lock and key. At least one person was shot and critically injured.
Pro-Trump protesters attempting to stop the congressional certification Jan. 6 of President-Elect Joe Biden stormed the Capitol building. There were reports of shots fired, and media said Capitol Police critically injured a woman among the rioters.
Capitol police evacuated lawmakers going through the ceremonial function of counting the electoral votes. President Donald Trump, still refusing to accept his loss, urged protesters to march to the Capitol.
There are at least 33 Jewish members of the new Congress, in the House and in the Senate, among those who would have been present today. There also are hundreds of Jewish staffers, although because of the pandemic many are working remotely.
Here are some snapshots, gathered from social media postings by Jewish lawmakers and in interviews.
“Just had to evacuate my office because of a bomb reported outside, while the President’s anarchists are trying to force their way into the Capitol,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat reelected to her sophomore term. “I heard what sounds like multiple gunshots.”
Luria, like virtually every other lawmaker — a handful of leaders are the exception — are housed in buildings adjacent to the Capitol.
She is a retired Naval commander. “I don’t recognize our country today, and the members of Congress who have supported this anarchy do not deserve to represent their fellow Americans,” she said.
Two other Jewish Democratic sophomores from Michigan were taking shelter together. “I am remaining safely in my office, as are my staff who were directed to stay home,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a onetime CIA analyst. “Rep. Andy Levin is with me since his office building was evacuated.”
Levin, whose father is retired longtime Rep. Sander Levin, posted a video to social media to say he was safe, and smiled at first: He was still steeped in the good news for his party, that Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff had won Senate races in Georgia, handing the Senate to Democratic control.
“The joy of that is washed to the side at the moment as we are going through an assault on our democracy right here in the Capitol complex,” he said. “The president of the united states has encouraged his supporters to overrun the U.S. Capitol.”
Levin recalled seeing affronts to popular protests as a longtime human rights campaigner, interviewing dissidents in hiding in Haiti and China.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this here as a member of Congress,” he said.
In a statement, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott condemned the protest in D.C. and called it a “coup attempt.”
“I have spoken to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to offer our support and will continue to stay in close contact. Baltimore stands ready to support our sister city,” he said. “What we’re seeing on Capitol Hill today is an attack on our democracy. Donald Trump’s policies, actions and inactions have terrorized Black and Brown people across this country over the last four years. He has consistently stoked his base to act in hate. This behavior is not surprising to me, nor should it be for anyone. But let us not be desensitized. This is what white supremacy looks like.
“Donald Trump, the Members of Congress who continue to undermine the election, and those who are participating in this terrorist attack should be treated accordingly.”
Ron Kampeas writes for the JTA global Jewish news source. Jmore staff contributed to this report.