Trump supporters clashed in Washington DC with those demanding they leave with counter-demonstrators early on Sunday with several fistfights, at least one stabbing and 20 people arrested.
Several other cities on Saturday also saw gatherings of Trump supporters unwilling to accept Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College and famous vote victory as legitimate. Cries of “Stop the Steal” and “Count Every Vote” continued despite a lack of evidence of voter fraud or other problems that could reverse the result.
After night fell, the relatively peaceful demonstrations in Washington turned from tense to violent. Videos posted on social media showed fistfights, projectiles thrown and club-swinging as Trump supporters clashed with those demanding they leave.
A variety of charges, including assault and weapons possession, were filed against those arrested, officials said. Two police officers were injured, and police recovered several firearms.
One person was stabbed and rushed to a trauma centre, a spokeswoman for the city fire and emergency medical services department said. The Washington Post newspaper reported the stabbing occurred amid a melee between Trump supporters – some carrying batons – and counter-protesters that broke out about 8 pm (01:00 GMT)
Trump himself had given an approving nod to the gathering on Saturday morning by dispatching his motorcade through streets lined with supporters before rolling on to his Virginia golf club. People chanted “USA, USA” and “four more years” and many carried American flags and signs to show their displeasure with the vote tally and insistence that, as Trump has baselessly asserted, fraud was the reason.
A week after Biden was declared the winner of the election, demonstrations in support of Trump also took place in other cities. Fury at the prospect of a transfer of executive power showed no signs of abating, taking a cue from the president’s unrelenting assertion of victory in a race he lost.
“I just want to keep up his spirits and let him know we support him,” one loyalist, Anthony Whittaker of Winchester, Virginia, said.
At least 10,000 people – few wearing masks amid the surging coronavirus pandemic – massed on the city’s Freedom Plaza before marching to the Supreme Court in a raucous atmosphere reminiscent of a Trump campaign rally.
Among the speakers at the rally was Marjorie Taylor Greene – a Georgia Republican newly elected to the US House who has expressed racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories. She urged people to march peacefully towards the Supreme Court.
Mostly clad in black with some wearing helmets and ballistic vests, the marchers included members of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group known for street brawling with ideological opponents at political rallies. Here