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Kildee, other congressman urged to don gas masks in Capitol amid protests

Police stand guard after holding off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police...
Police stand guard after holding off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)(Julio Cortez | AP)
Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 3:13 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (WJRT) - As violent protests over the presidential election raged, congressmen inside the U.S. Capitol were told to don gas masks and get on the floor.

Democrat Dan Kildee of Flint was on the House floor when the order came. He said protesters seeking to disrupt Congress’ session to validate the Electoral College and complete the final step in the presidential election got into the building and were banging on doors to the chamber.

Kildee said armed security and Capitol Police officers had guns drawn in the House chamber as the protest continued in the Capitol. He and other congressmen later were escorted off the House floor to an undisclosed safe location.

“This is a dark moment for the history of our country. Praying for an end to the violence and safety for everyone in the Capitol,” Kildee posted on Twitter.

Congress went into recess before completing its Electoral College work, which is the last step in officially awarding the presidency to Joe Biden. The National Guard and federal law enforcement agencies were called in to clear the Capitol building before Congress could resume its debate.

Congressman John Moolenaar, a Republican from Midland, denounced the protests in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. He called it a “direct attack on the free society we are blessed to live in” and called for full prosecution of everyone who violated laws.

“Today’s violent and disgraceful demonstrations at the Capitol have no place in our society,” Moolenaar said. “The protesters who breached the Capitol today violated the rule of law and brought violence to a place where we have gathered for centuries to peacefully debate the issues facing our nation.”

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from Holly, called on all of the violent protesters to leave -- including some from her district in Southeast Michigan.

““This is a tough moment for everyone,” she said.

Kildee’s office in Washington has been evacuated, along with other congressional office buildings near the Capitol.

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