Today’s breach of the Capitol building marks the largest breach since 1814

Maddy Paterson, Staff Writer

The breach of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. today marks the largest breach of the U.S. Capitol since 1814 when the British breached.

The most recognized symbol of democratic government in the world, the United States Capitol, has housed Congress since 1800. The Capitol is where Congress meets to write the laws of our nation, and where presidents are inaugurated and deliver their annual State of the Union messages.

In the most devastating blow suffered by the U.S. during the War of 1812, after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg British, forces overran the capital city and set fire to most major public buildings. The attack occurred during a congressional recess; the House having adjourned for the session in April. On August 24, 1814, as the War of 1812 raged on, invading British troops marched into Washington and set fire to the U.S. Capitol, President’s Mansion, and other local landmarks. The ensuing fire reduced all but one of the capital city’s major public buildings to smoking rubble, and only a torrential rainstorm saved the Capitol from complete destruction. The blaze particularly devastated the Capitol’s Senate wing, the oldest part of the building.

History was made today as the largest breach of the United States Capitol since then when protestors stormed the Capitol. As President Trump’s speech concluded, a group of about two dozen people moved in on the U.S. Capitol as the debate over certifying the election was taking place inside, with an unknown number of protesters inside the Capitol building currently. Several flash-bang grenades were launched. A stretcher was seen being taken through the crowd as tensions flared. Behind them, a vast throng continued to swell, with a reporter estimating over 1,000 pushing up against the inauguration stage set up outside the Capitol building.

After his evacuation from the Capitol, Vice President Mike Pence spoke up on Twitter, saying, “The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building”, adding that, “Peaceful protests is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

President Donald Trump encouraged supporters occupying the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to disperse, saying, “You have to go home now.” He goes on, saying, “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now.”

Most protesters have dispersed but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the federal agency primarily responsible for administering and enforcing the criminal and regulatory provisions of the federal laws pertaining to destructive devices (bombs), explosives, and arson, is currently searching the building to remove remaining protesters inside.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. today in Washington D.C. “During the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor, shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by car or other mode of transport upon any street, alley, park, or other public place within the District,” her statement reads. The curfew will last until 6 a.m. on Thursday.

This is an ongoing story that we will continue to follow as it progresses.