WASHINGTON (AP) – Thousands of protesters delighted President Donald Trump and the unfounded allegations of electoral fraud at a demonstration near the White House Wednesday before a congressional vote to confirm President Joe Biden’s victory.
“We won’t let their voices be silenced,” Trump told protesters who stood up before sunrise to give priority to hearing the president.
The crowd cheered when he said, “We will stop the theft.” It was a clash of protests against the election results.
Lou Murray, a Boston life insurance salesman, said many more are hoping Congress and Vice President Mike Pence will not certify the Electoral College. “I hope Vice President Pence has the courage today, and I hope that every politician who thinks he has a future shows the courage to stand up and do what is right,” Murray said.
Pence has no way of avoiding Biden becoming next president.
From the Ellipse south of the White House, protesters planned to march to the Capitol before the vote. Trump said he would be with them.
At the Capitol, Tim Teller from West Sacramento, California, listened to his phone while Trump spoke. “I want to tell my kids that I did everything I could,” he said.
The crowd gathered at the Capitol said, “We want Trump.”
About an hour before Trump spoke, there were long, dense lines at security checkpoints near the White House. At the Lincoln Memorial, dozens of Trump supporters stood on the stairs with large Trump flags.
Nirav Peterson, who flew to Seattle to take part in the protest, said anger and activism would be the basis if Trump did not complete another cycle and said Republicans who did not support him would face primary challenges.
“People are angry. It won’t go away. , ”Peterson said as he made a video of the crowd gathered behind the steel railings at the foot of the Washington Monument. “There’s a huge, huge part of those who won’t take it anymore.”
Like many others, Peterson did not wear a mask. He said he was opposed to the shutdowns caused by the epidemic and did not believe anyone would have died from COVID-19. More than 350,000 people have died from the virus in the United States
Several prominent Trump supporters were expected for the protest events, which began with a demonstration at Freedom Plaza near the White House on Tuesday. Among them, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Trump’s longtime ally, Roger Stone, were pardoned by the president.
As temperatures dropped to low levels in the 1940s on Tuesday night and continuous rain swept across the streets, hundreds of protesters remained at Freedom Plaza.
“I’m only here to support the president,” said David Wideman, a 45-year-old firefighter who traveled from Memphis to Tennessee. Wideman admitted he was “disturbed” by the losses of Trump’s legal team when they tried to overthrow the election result and did not know what opportunities Trump had left.
“I don’t know what you can do at this point, but I want to hear what you have to say,” Wideman said.
Trump tweeted support for protesters: “Washington is flooding people who don’t want to see radical left-wing Democrats steal the election victory. Our country is tired, they will no longer! We hear (and love) from the Oval Office.
In Tuesday night’s tweet, Trump called on Democrats and their Republican comrades to watch “thousands of people flock to DC”. In another tweet, he warned that the antifa, the umbrella concept for left-wing armed groups that Trump wants to communicate: a terrorist organization, must stay away from Washington.
At the rallies, local officials and law enforcement prepared for possible violent street clashes. Many businesses in downtown Washington have stepped into their windows, fearing the protest could lead to riots in May and June when dozens of businesses were damaged.
District of Colombia, Mayor Muriel Bowser has called on national guard troops to help strengthen the city’s police force. He urged residents to stay away from downtown Washington and avoid confrontation with anyone “looking for a fight”. But he warned, “We will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents and destroy it in our city.”
Police on Tuesday and Wednesday reported 12 protest-related arrests for various crimes, including armed charges, assault on a police officer, simple assault, possession of a narcotic weapon and other offenses.
Election officials from both political parties, governors of key battlefield states and former Attorney General Trump, William Barr, said there was no widespread fraud in the election. Almost all of Trump and his allies ’legal objections were rejected by the judges, including two challenges rejected by the Supreme Court.
The December 12 Trump party rally ended in violence when hundreds of Trump supporters, bearing the black-and-yellow signature of far-right far-right Proud Boys, sought confrontations with a group of local activists who tried to ban them from black. Matter Plaza is an area near the White House. Black Lives Matter banners were torn down and set on fire in at least two local black temples.
On Monday, police arrested the leader of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarro (36), after arriving in Washington before this week’s protests. Tarrio was accused of burning one of the black Lives Matter banners in December and finding him with two high-capacity firearms stockpiles, police said. The judge on Tuesday signed a ban on Tarrio entering the Colombian district, with very limited exceptions related to his criminal case.
In addition to the National Guard, federal agents were on hand to see if they were needed quickly in the city this week.
According to the Federal Office of the Prison, some 100 “specially trained officers” have been sent to the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice to assist other security personnel, but remain “in reserve if necessary”.