A wave of protests in the United States was expected, and came from both sides. The day after Election Day, both supporters of the president and those who have opposed Trump’s policies for four years took to the streets.
The first ones made their voices heard in those states where the vote is proving decisive. In Detroit, Michigan, just before the news agencies announced Joe Biden’s victory, dozens of supporters of The Donald formed a march and headed to a ballot counting location, the TCF Center, with the slogan “Stop counting!”
Videos that were immediately shared on the internet and broadcast on local TV showed dozens of people outside the TCF Center and inside the lobby, with cops lining up to defend the building to stop them from entering.
Clashes and tensions have also occurred in Arizona, another crucial on-the-edge state, now tilting towards the Democratic candidate. In Phoenix, about 150 Donald Trump supporters became furious after the Associated Press called the state for Biden, despite the fact that the AP repeated several times that it would not give any vote projection this year, but judge according to the verified data alone.
Trump had already stated on Election Night that he had won the election, long before the key states had counted all the votes, and spent most of the day saying, without proof, that they were trying to “steal” the elections from him, thus questioning the legitimacy of the numerous ballots sent by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
His faithful embraced the rhetoric, clamoring to stop counting the ballots sent by mail. And a considerable portion of the country is instead rejecting this rhetoric.
Anti-Trump demonstrations have been organized in New York, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago, all of them with the opposite slogan of “Count every vote!” Other demonstrations are planned for the coming days.
In Minneapolis, protesters blocked a highway, engaging in a battle with police, who made a dozen arrests. In Portland, hundreds of people gathered on the waterfront to protest against attempts to stop the counting of votes, while the center was wracked by another protest, against the police and for racial justice, with broken shop windows and the intervention not only of the police, but also of the National Guard troops.
In New York City, an initially peaceful demonstration spilled over onto Fifth Avenue, followed towards evening by clashes between a separate group of protesters and the police, who blocked traffic in the West Village while officers on bikes pushed the protesters onto the sidewalks and arrested them in groups of four-five at a time, for a total of several dozen.
More than 100 protests are scheduled for Saturday, organized by local partners of Protect the Results, a coalition of more than 165 grassroots organizations, advocacy groups and unions.
The group, led by the activist groups Indivisible and Stand Up America, has decided to hold only these events and cancel hundreds of other events initially planned. In Washington, D.C., ShutDownDC organizers are planning more aggressive actions during the week, depending on the outcome: whether Trump wins, loses or questions the results.
“We knew this would happen,” said the advocacy group in a tweet, calling for a rally of activists with the hashtags #DeliverDemocracy and #CountEveryVote.
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