The House and Senate went into recess due to a lockdown over protests outside Capitol Hill on Wednesday during the Joint Session of Congress as lawmakers hear arguments and challenges over states’ electoral votes.
“The House is in Recess subject to the call of the Chair,” the House Press Gallery wrote at around 2:30 p.m. ET.
Video footage showed large numbers of protesters holding signs for President Donald Trump, American flags, and Gadsden flags, outside the building.
Reporters and lawmakers on the scene said the Capitol building was placed on lockdown, adding that protesters are believed to have entered the building.
“The House is in recess subject to the call of the Chair,” the House Press Gallery wrote. “I’m safe. The Capitol building is on lockdown and the House and Senate are in recess,” said Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.).
On the floor of the House, a disturbance could be heard. A number of people were seen rushing from the chamber.
In the Senate, the upper chamber went “into recess until the call of the chair” as Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) was speaking.
Earlier, buildings near the U.S. Capitol were evacuated on Wednesday as the Joint Session of Congress met to debate on electoral votes amid protests and rallies.
“Just evacuated my office in Cannon due to a nearby threat,” wrote Rep. Nancy Mace (R-N.C.) in confirming evacuations were taking place at the Cannon building. “Now we’re seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Police. This is wrong. This is not who we are. I’m heartbroken for our nation today.”
Added Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.): “I’m sheltering in place in my office. The building next door has been evacuated. I can’t believe I have to write this.”
“I’m in Cannon and have been evacuated,” wrote Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). “But it doesn’t matter. In less than two hours I will cast my vote rejecting” attempts by GOP lawmakers to challenge the Nov. 3 election results in battleground states.
“Thank you to Capitol Police for protecting the People’s House. Protesters have a Constitutionally-protected right to be heard, but I urge them to remain peaceful,” said House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Twitter.
The Epoch Times’ Jan Jekielek confirmed that some members of the media were also evacuated, adding that as of 1:55 p.m., the evacuation order appeared to be over.