British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned "disgraceful scenes" in the United States as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington DC.
Amid violent clashes with police, protesters breached barricades and were able to enter the building on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, disrupting politicians' formal approval of Joe Biden's election win.
Boris Johnson tweeted: "Disgraceful scenes in US Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power."
His comments came after British politicians from all parties described the scenes in Washington as "profoundly shocking" and "utterly horrifying".
Trump had previously urged his supporters to travel to Washington to protest against Congress' approval of Biden's victory in the November presidential election.
Both chambers of Congress were forced into an abrupt recess by the protest as they were debating the Electoral College vote that gave Biden the presidency.
Police told politicians to put on gas masks after tear gas was dispersed in the Capitol Rotunda amid skirmishes.
Senators were evacuated, with other politicians tweeting that they were taking shelter in their offices.
One person was reported to have been shot amid the protests, with the exact circumstances being unclear.
Reacting on Twitter, British Labour leader Keir Starmer wrote: "Horrendous scenes from the US.
"These are not 'protesters' - this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people."
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: "The US rightly takes great pride in its democracy, and there can be no justification for these violent attempts to frustrate the lawful and proper transition of power."
Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland also condemned the "terrible scenes" in Washington, tweeting: "To our great friends in the US, we have always admired your peaceful transfers of power and the graceful acceptance by candidates of both electoral victory and defeat. Those who seek to undermine this must never prevail."
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the scenes from the Capitol were "utterly horrifying".
She added: "Solidarity with those in (the United States) on the side of democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power. Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy."
Former Cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt tweeted that Trump "shames American democracy tonight & causes its friends anguish but he is not America".
Trump tweeted a video asking protesters to "go home", but claimed that the presidential election was "fraudulent" and that he feels their "pain".
Australian Associated Press