People across the United States are commemorating the one-year anniversary of the deadly attack on the US Capitol, described by top officials in Washington, DC, as an “unprecedented” assault on the country’s democracy.
A mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, as Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s election victory.
Five people died in the ensuing violence, Trump was later impeached for “incitement of insurrection”, and more than 725 people have since been charged in relation to the attempt to undermine a democratic transition of power.
Several events are planned in the US capital on Thursday to commemorate the sombre anniversary, with US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris addressing the nation from the Capitol starting at 9:00 am ET (14:00 GMT).
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats will later hold a moment of silence on the House floor before leading a discussion about the riot with historians. A prayer vigil will also be held on Thursday evening.
President Joe Biden has accused defeated former president Donald Trump of spreading a “web of lies” about the last US election and American democracy during a speech commemorating the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol.
“He’s done so because he values power over principle because he sees his own interest was more important than his country’s interest,” Biden said of Trump. “His bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution. He can’t accept he lost, even though that’s what 93 United States senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors, and state officials in every battleground state have all said he lost.”
Biden said the storming of the Capitol was unprecedented in US history.
Trump, he said, did what no other president in American history has ever done: “He refused to accept the result of the election.”
The president called the events of January 6, 2021 “an armed insurrection.” The rioters “were looking to deny the will of the people. They weren’t looking for a free and fair election. They were looking to overturn one.”
“At this moment we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be,” Biden told the memorial. “Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm?”