Trump supporters rally in Washington and other state capitals
Incensed by a Supreme Court ruling that further dashed President Donald Trump’s hopes of invalidating his November electoral defeat, thousands of his supporters marched in Washington and several state capitals on Saturday to protest what they contended, against all evidence, was a stolen election.
In some places, angry confrontations between protesters and counter-protesters escalated into violence. There were a number of scuffles in the national capital, where four people were stabbed, and the police declared a riot in Olympia, Washington, where one person was shot.
In videos of a clash in Olympia that were posted on social media, a single gunshot can be heard as black-clad counter-protesters move towards members of the pro-Trump group, including one person waving a large Trump flag. After the gunshot, one of the counter-protesters is seen falling to the ground, and others call for help. In one video, a man with a gun can be seen running from the scene and putting on a red hat.
Chris Loftis, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, said two people were in custody in connection with the episode but that specific details about the shooting were not yet clear, including the condition of the person who was shot.
State and federal courts have rejected dozens of lawsuits by Trump’s allies seeking to challenge the election results, but the pointed refusal by the Supreme Court on Friday to hear a case filed by the attorney-general of Texas loomed the largest yet.
By foreclosing one of the last legal avenues Trump had to potentially block Joseph R. Biden from succeeding him on Inauguration Day, it left many of his partisans casting angrily about for answers.
Trump flags dotted the air above Freedom Plaza in Washington, where demonstrators — including many members of the far-Right Proud Boys group — chanted “four more years!” and vowed not to recognise Biden as the President-elect.
Stephanie Lalich, 55, who travelled from Baltimore to join the protest in Washington, said voting machines had been used for widespread electoral fraud — a claim that has been proved false — and that judges had not sided with Trump because they did not want to take on the issue.
“They don’t want to deal with this,” Lalich said. “It’s going to have to go nuclear, using the Insurrection Act and bringing out the military.”
One of Trump’s former national security advisers, Michael T. Flynn, whom Trump pardoned in November, told Trump supporters near the Supreme Court building not to “get bent out of shape” by the latest setback, assuring them that there were still ways to fight back.
“We decide the election,” he said, greeted by cheers. “We’re waging a battle across America.”
Trump flew over the protesters in Marine One on his way to attend the Army-Navy football game at West Point. Protesters erupted in cheers as the helicopter and its escort passed overhead.
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, a Right-wing group known for inciting violence at protests, caused a stir earlier in the day when he posted a photograph taken at the North Portico of the White House and said he had received a “last minute invite”.
Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said Tarrio had been part of a public tour and that no one inside the building had invited him.
At Georgia’s Statehouse in downtown Atlanta, speakers used megaphones to cast doubt on the election as American flags and Make America Great Again hats bobbed in the crowd.
Across the street, a few dozen anti-Trump activists — many dressed all in black — heckled the President’s supporters.
New York Times News Service