Several thousand supporters of President Donald Trump in Washington protested the election results and then greeted Trump’s passing motorcade before night clashes with counter-demonstrators sparked fistfights, at least one stab and at least 20 arrests.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Several thousand supporters of President Donald Trump in Washington protested the election results and welcomed Trump’s passing motorcade before night clashes with counter-demonstrators sparked fistfights, at least one stab and at least 20 arrests.
In several other cities, Trump supporters also gathered on Saturday who were unwilling to accept Democrat Joe Biden’s electoral college and the popular election victory as legitimate. The screams of “Stop the Steal” and “Count Every Vote” continued, although there was no evidence of election fraud or other problems that could reverse the outcome.
After nightfall, the relatively peaceful demonstrations in Washington went from tense to violent. Videos posted on social media featured fist fights, projectiles and clubs as Trump supporters clashed with those demanding that they take their MAGA hats and banners and leave. The tensions continued until Sunday morning. Various charges were brought against those arrested, including assault and gun possession. Two police officers were injured and several firearms were recovered by the police.
Trump himself had given the gathering a nod of approval on Saturday morning by sending his motorcade down trailer-lined streets before continuing to his golf club in Virginia. People sang “USA, USA” and “Another four years”, and many wore American flags and signs to show their displeasure with the number of votes and persistence that, as Trump has unfoundedly claimed, fraud was the cause.
“I just want to keep his mood and let him know we support him,” said a loyalist, Anthony Whittaker of Winchester, Virginia. He was in front of the Supreme Court, where several thousand gathered after walking along Pennsylvania Avenue from Freedom Plaza near the White House.
A broad coalition of government and industry leaders have said the November 3rd vote and the following census went smoothly, with no more than the usual little problems – “the safest in American history,” they said, rejecting Trump’s efforts starting to undermine the integrity of the competition.
Hundreds of people marched in Delray Beach, Florida, some with signs saying “Every Vote Count” and “We Cannot Live Under a Marxist Government.” In Lansing, Michigan, protesters gathered at the Capitol to hear speakers express doubts about the results, which showed Biden won the state by more than 140,000 votes. The Phoenix Police Department estimates 1,500 people gathered outside the Arizona Capitol to protest Biden’s narrow victory in the state. Protesters in Salem, Oregon gathered at the Capitol.
Among the speakers in Washington was a Georgia Republican newly elected to the US House. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has expressed racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories, urged people to march peacefully to the Supreme Court.
Protesters included members of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group known for quarreling with ideological opponents on the streets at political rallies.
Multiple confrontations erupted later in the day when small groups of Trump supporters tried to enter the area around Black Lives Matter Plaza, about a block from the White House, where several hundred anti-Trump protesters had gathered.
In a pattern that was repeated over and over again, Trump supporters approaching the area were harassed, doused with water, and watched their MAGA hats and pro-Trump flags tear and burn to the cheers. When night fell, several police lines held the two sides apart.
Videos posted on social media showed some protesters and counter-demonstrators dealing in bumps, slaps and slaps. A man with a megaphone yells, “Get out of here!” was pushed and pushed into the street by a man who was then surrounded by several people and was pushed and beaten until he fell face first on the street. Bloody and dazed, he was picked up and went to a police officer.
The Million MAGA March was heavily promoted on social media, raising concerns that it could spark conflict with anti-Trump protesters who have been gathering near the White House on Black Lives Matter Plaza for weeks.
In preparation, the police cordoned off large parts of the city center, where many shops and offices have been boarded up since election day. Chris Rodriguez, director of the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said the police are experienced in keeping the peace.
The issues that Trump’s campaign and his allies have pointed out are typical of any election: problems with signatures, non-disclosure envelopes, and postage stamps on postal ballot papers, and the possibility of a small number of ballot papers being misplaced or lost. With Biden leading Trump by a wide margin in key battlefield states, none of these issues would affect the election result.
A former civil servant, Sebastian Gorka, spiced up the crowd at the Supreme Court by saying, “We can win because he won.” But he added, “It will be difficult.”
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