US President Donald Trump has told protesters currently at the US congress that he loves them, but they should “go home in peace”.
Protesters had invaded Capitol Hill on Wednesday during the process of certifying the November 3 presidential election.
Not long before the invasion, Trump — who has refused to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden — had addressed hundreds of his supporters.
The demonstrators broke into the US congress, leading to evacuation of lawmakers.
Speaking in a video message published on his social media handles, Trump insisted that the election was “stolen from us”, but urged the protesters to leave the congress.
“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. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people of law and order,” Trump said.
“We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened; where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country.
“This was a fraudulent election but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace.”
However, Mike Pence, US vice-president, condemned the invasion of the congress, and maintained that all persons found culpable will be prosecuted.
“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,” Pence wrote in a post on Twitter.
“Peaceful protest 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.”
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.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 6, 2021
Although a curfew has been imposed on Washington DC, the protesters have refused to leave the area despite heavy security presence.