Scattered protests in US cities, but no wide unrest seen
Scattered protests took place from Washington, D.C., to Washington state as votes were counted, but there were no signs of widespread unrest or violence linked to the U.S. election.
The outcome of the hard-fought contest for the presidency remained undecided Wednesday, stirring worries that prolonged uncertainty could yet spark conflict.
But demonstrations overnight and on Wednesday in cities including Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington and New York remained largely peaceful.
In Washington, more than 1,000 people protesting President Donald Trump converged on Black Lives Matter Plaza on Tuesday night, just a block from the White House, while hundreds more marched through downtown, sometimes blocking traffic and setting off fireworks.
Protestors shouted “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “If we don’t get no justice, they don’t get no peace!”
Groups of teenagers danced in the street as onlookers cheered. Large banners, including one reading “Trump lies all the time,” were unfurled.
At one point, the marchers stabbed the tires of a parked police van to flatten them.
In Philadelphia, about 200 protesters representing labor unions, groups working to combat climate change and other causes, rallied near Independence Hall Wednesday afternoon, saying they had come to protect democracy. The protest came shortly before Trump campaign officials said they would file suit to stop the counting of votes in Pennsylvania over what they contended was a lack of transparency.
“We want Biden to win, but we want every vote to be counted no matter what,” said one of the protesters, Corean Holloway, 69, of Philadelphia.
Hundreds of people marched in anti-Trump demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle on Tuesday night, with several arrested.
“This is what democracy looks like,” protesters chanted in Portland, where organizers said the demonstration would be peaceful and that regardless of the presidential election result, they would continue protesting in support of racial justice. The sheriff’s office said some protesters were openly carrying guns.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown had put the National Guard on standby, since Portland has seen almost nightly protests since the death of George Floyd under a Minneapolis police officer’s knee in May.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on Twitter that there would be “no tolerance for any violence, intimidation or criminal destruction,” and that people should be “safe while using their voice to advocate for their perspective.”
In Seattle, police said they arrested several people, including someone who put nails in a road and another who drove over a barricade and into a police bike lane. No one was injured.
Hundreds of businesses in cities across the U.S. boarded up their doors and windows ahead of the election, fearing the vote could lead to the sort of violence that broke out after Floyd’s death.
“Some people would like to cause mayhem and trouble,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said earlier in the day. She said she had never seen so many businesses being boarded up: “That all saddens me.”