By Andrew HarnikA wild mass of protesters and rioters turned up at the State Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, with the governor’s office calling for calm.
But the governor, Mike Pence, did not, instead opting to make a statement, telling reporters that he was “deeply disappointed” in the crowd, but not surprised.
Pence told reporters: “This was a riot that was instigated by people that want to tear down the rule of law.
It was an assault on our democracy, it was an attack on the Constitution.”
The rally was the largest to ever take place at the Capitol, and Pence was flanked by Capitol Police and the National Guard.
Protesters in Washington, DC, Tuesday.AP Photo/Carolyn KasterThe rally came just hours after President Donald Trump announced the formation of a task force to combat violence across the country, calling on law enforcement and the US military to join together.
The group has been described as a “tent city”, as the crowds swelled to the tens of thousands and a few hundred protesters were seen holding signs reading “Make the streets safe”.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are joined by police officers in Washington DC on Tuesday.AFP/GettyProtesters outside the US Capitol in the Capitol area in Washington.
ReutersAPThe White House said in a statement that the “federal government has stepped up its response to violent demonstrations that threaten our democratic processes and civil liberties”.
“Our goal is to ensure that all Americans are safe, and our focus is on making sure that peaceful protesters do not have to go to jail,” the statement read.
Police and the Pentagon also urged Americans to stay away from the Capitol and other areas of the US, and urged people to monitor the situation on social media.AP