Democrats, Republicans Protest Over Election Concerns in Major Cities, Portland Escalates to Riots
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Pro-Trump and Pro-Biden demonstrations took place in multiple major cities overnight as vote counting continues in battleground states and the official winner of the US election remains undecided.
Dozens of angry supporters of President Donald Trump rallied at vote centers in Michigan and Arizona Wednesday night after the AP reported the president lost both states to former vice president Joe Biden. The protests came after Trump argued on Wednesday that Democrats are trying to "steal the election" and filed lawsuits in various states over accusations of voter fraud.
"Stop the count!" Trump supporters chanted in Detroit, where allegations of voter fraud swarm. Earlier, Trump filed a bid to stop the counting and demanded Michigan's secretary of state allow in more inspectors.
#BREAKING: Large, animated crush of "stop the count" protestors trying to push their way into TCF hall in #Detroit where ballots are being counted.— Steve Patterson (@PattersonNBC) November 4, 2020
They're being blocked by guards at the door.
Pizza boxes are pushed against the window to obstruct view. It's tense. @NBCNews pic.twitter.com/zFhzd88skX
Other pro-Trump protesters cried "Stop the steal!" in Phoenix.
Here's the scene in #Phoenix right now, as protests erupt outside the Maricopa County Elections Center. @8NewsNow https://t.co/nfN3AqmMJR— Sasha Loftis (@SashaLoftis) November 5, 2020
Some pro-Trump protesters in Arizona expressed outrage after Fox News declared Biden the projected winner of their state. Vote-counting continued overnight in Maricopa county. By Thursday morning and with 88% of the expected vote counted, Biden's lead over Trump in Arizona had narrowed, but he still maintains his edge over the president by about two percentage points.
Several sheriff's deputies blocked the entrance to the vote-counting center and two Maricopa County officials – one a Democrat, and the other a Republican – issued a statement shooting down claims of fraud.
"Everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person," said the statement signed by Clint Hickman, the GOP chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo. "An accurate vote takes time. ...This is evidence of democracy, not fraud."
Meanwhile, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia urging for all of the ballots to be counted.
Demonstrators march through heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, demanding that all votes cast in the election be counted—as the state continues to tally early, mail-in ballots https://t.co/qKpCp6Srkj pic.twitter.com/v2PapKOEQK— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) November 5, 2020
In New York City, police said they arrested at least 20 individuals "who attempted to hijack a peaceful protest by lighting fires, throwing garbage and eggs in Manhattan."
We support everyone's right to self-expression, but setting fires puts others at risk and will not be tolerated. We are working to de-escalate the situation near Morton Street in the West Village to prevent further damage from occurring. pic.twitter.com/4nTK6UUBzC— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 5, 2020
In Portland, Oregon, a riot was declared after protesters smashed windows. Gov. Kate Brown called in the National Guard to help local law enforcement. Hundreds of protesters in Portland held signs calling on every vote to be counted.
"It's important to trust the process, and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis," Brown said in a statement.
Election night saw no widespread unrest despite businesses across the country boarding up their buildings out of fear of nationwide violence. As of Thursday morning, the latest results show Biden is winning in the race for the White House, but both candidates have claimed they are on the road to victory as votes in battleground states continue to be counted.
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