There were chaotic scenes outside the Capitol while lawmakers certify the Electoral College votes on Wednesday after protests erupted and two buildings were briefly evacuated by U.S. Capitol Police because of a purported bomb threat.
A congressional source told Fox News that the Cannon House Office Building and Madison Library of Congress Building were briefly evacuated because of a bomb threat after several suspicious packages were reportedly found in the area.
U.S. Capitol Police are asking personnel to relocate from Cannon and to “shelter in place” at the Rayburn and Longworth House Office Buildings. A police memo sent to lawmakers read: “Due to police activity, all personnel are advised to relocate from the Cannon House Office Building to the Rayburn and Longworth House Office Buildings through the underground tunnels. Do not evacuate outside the buildings. All personnel should shelter in place in the Rayburn and Longworth House Office buildings.”
A journalist with Fox 5 DC who was inside the Canon office building at the time said an officer stood in the center of the rotunda and shouted for people to “clear the building.”
The U.S. Capitol complex has been placed on lockdown. An announcement played that said in the U.S. Capitol said to “move away from windows and doors” and “no one can leave or enter.” People were still permitted to move about inside the building.
Multiple suspicious packages have been found near the Capitol grounds, according to multiple law enforcement officials. At least one of these devices looked like a pipe bomb, according to an official who saw the device.
It is unclear if these are actually explosive devices, or if they might be a hoax. The D.C. bomb unit has been contacted. A command center has been set up near 100 block of E Street SE.
Meanwhile, some demonstrators got too close to the Capitol on the west side, which came close to having a breach in the fencing set up to hold crowds back. U.S. Capitol Police is trying to push people back. The entire Capitol plaza is closed, even to members attempting to go into the chamber for the joint session of Congress.
Video shared online showed a crowd, some of whom carried pro-Trump and American flags, clash with federal law enforcement officers wearing helmets and shields.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, John Roberts and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.