Dozens of protesters for President Donald Trump flocked to vote counting centers in Detroit and Phoenix on Wednesday as the results weighed against them.
Meanwhile, thousands of people against the president and who demand that all votes be counted in the indefinite presidential contest took to the streets of several cities in the country.
“Stop the count!” Chanted the president’s supporters in Detroit. “Stop the robbery!” They exclaimed in Phoenix.RELATED
The protests took place as the president insisted without proof that there were serious problems with voting and counting, and Republicans were filing demands in various states over the elections.
Protesters in Phoenix filled much of the parking lot at the Maricopa County Election Center, where police were monitoring both the exterior of the building and the counting process inside.
Representative Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona and a staunch supporter of Trump, joined the crowd and said, “We are not going to let these elections be stolen. Point”.
However, observers from the two major parties continued inside the polling place while the ballots were processed and counted, and the process was broadcast live over the internet at all times.
Two top county officials, one a Democrat and one a Republican, issued a statement expressing concern about how misinformation about the integrity of the electoral process had spread.
“Everyone should want all votes to be counted, whether by mail or submitted in person,” said the statement signed by Clint Hickman, Republican chairman of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, and Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo. “An accurate vote takes time (…) This is a test of democracy, not fraud.”
Meanwhile, from New York City to Seattle, thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand that all votes be counted.
In Portland, Oregon, where there have been periodic protests for months, Gov. Kate Brown deployed the National Guard when protesters committed what authorities described as widespread violence in the city center, including blowing up windows. Protesters in Portland were protesting on issues from police brutality to vote counting.
“It is important to trust the process, and the system that has guaranteed free and fair elections in this country for decades, even in times of great crisis,” Brown said in a statement. “We are all in this together”.
Richard March said he attended a march against Trump in Portland despite having a heart problem that made him vulnerable to COVID-19.
“Questioning these elections has dire consequences for our democracy,” he said. “I think we are now a very polarized society, and I am concerned about what is going to happen in the next days and weeks and months.”
In New York, hundreds of people walked past plank-protected luxury stores on Fifth Avenue. In Chicago, protesters marched downtown and along a street across the river from Trump Tower.
Similar protests, sometimes about elections and sometimes about racial inequality, unfolded in at least half a dozen cities, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and San Diego.
Michigan has been on alert for several months for concerns of political violence. In the spring, several anti-government protesters carried weapons to the state Capitol during protests against restrictions implemented by the pandemic, and six men were arrested last month on charges of conspiring to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The demonstrations in Detroit began shortly before The Associated Press declared Democrat Joe Biden the winner in Michigan.
A video recorded by local media showed disgruntled protesters gathered outside the TCF convention center and inside the lobby, shouting slogans of “Stop the count!” and “Stop the voting!” Several policemen prevented them from entering the vote counting area.
Hours earlier, the Republican campaign filed a lawsuit in an attempt to suspend the vote count, demanding that Michigan Secretary of State, Democrat Jocelyn Benson, allow more inspectors to attend. Trump has repeatedly insisted without presenting evidence that there are serious problems with voting and counting.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel insisted that both parties and the public had been given access to the count “using a robust system of checks and balances to ensure that all votes are fairly and accurately counted.”
There were scattered protests Tuesday night after the polls closed, from Washington DC to Seattle, but there were no widespread riots or significant acts of violence.
The lengthy work of counting this year’s flood of votes by mail raised concerns that the lack of clarity in the presidential race could spark conflict.