The last 24 hours have been hectic to say the least, and the US has seen protesters storm the Capitol in protest of president-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

The building saw thousands of rioters storm it, shoving past barricades to get inside and target the session of Congress certifying the election’s result.

Here’s everything you need to know…

What happened at the Capitol riots?

Protesters surged up the Capitol steps at about 2:15pm local time, pushing past officers in riot gear to penetrate the building.

The action was targeting the joint session of Congress being held to certify Mr Biden’s election victory on November 3, 2020.

The invasion sent members of Congress scrambling for cover under their seats as tear gas was fired.

The mob – some of whom wore body armour – used chemical irritants to attack police, according to Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee.

They shouted and waved pro-Trump and US flags as they roamed the halls, demanding the results of the presidential election be overturned.

Several thousand National Guard troops, FBI agents and US Secret Service were deployed to help overwhelmed Capitol police.

Two pipe bombs were recovered, one from the Democratic National Committee offices, not far from the Capitol, and one from the nearby Republican National Committee headquarters.

The occupation of the Capitol lasted more than three hours before the building was secured by law enforcement. But there was little sign the protesters were heeding Mr Trump’s call to go home, despite a citywide curfew declared by the city mayor from 8pm to 6am.

How many people have died and how many arrested?

So far, more than 52 people have been arrested – 47 of them for curfew violations.

Four people have passed away.

How did Joe Biden and Donald Trump react?

Democrat Mr Biden, who defeated the Republican president in November’s White House election, said the protesters’ activity “borders on sedition” and that democracy was “under unprecedented assault”.

“To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices on the floor of the United States Senate, rummaging through desks, on the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly elected officials. It’s not protest; it’s insurrection.”

Mr Trump responded to the action in a recorded video on Twitter, repeating his unproven claims of election fraud.

“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt,” he said. “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.”

For the first time, Twitter froze Mr Trump’s account, saying it would be locked for 12 hours. The social media giant demanded he delete three tweets that it said could stoke violence and threatening “permanent suspension”. Facebook and Instagram followed suit.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Trump addressed a “Save America Rally” outside the White House, when he urged supporters to head to the Capitol. “Our country has had enough and we will not take it anymore,” he said.

What has been happening over the past week?

For days Mr Trump had been piling pressure on his vice-president, who was presiding over the session, to block certification of the result. But in a letter to Congress on Wednesday, Mr Pence said he had no “unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted”.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell also definitively broke with Mr Trump in an emotional speech from the chamber floor, saying: “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.”

After the session resumed, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer blasted the mob at the Capitol as “rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, domestic terrorists”, saying the president “bears a great deal of the blame”.

Senator Kelly Loeffler, who lost her bid for election in Georgia’s vote on Tuesday, said she could no longer in good conscience vote against certification as she had originally planned, citing the “abhorrent” invasion of the Capitol.

Who else has spoken about the riots?

Former President Barack Obama said history would rightly remember the assault on the Capitol as “as a moment of great dishonour and shame for our nation”.

And former US President George W Bush said: “It is a sickening & heartbreaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic.”

Image via Alamy