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2020–21 United States election protests

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2020–21 United States presidential election protests
DateNovember 4, 2020 – present
(Template:Ayd)
Caused by
Goals
Methods
StatusOngoing
Casualties
Death(s)5 (all during the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol)[14][15][16]
Injuries56 officers[12]
5 non-police officers[13]
ArrestedHundreds[19][20][15]

The 2020–21 United States election protests are an ongoing series of protests across multiple cities in the United States following the 2020 United States presidential election between incumbent President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. The election was held on November 3, 2020. Biden won the election, receiving 81.3 million votes (51.3%) to Trump's 74.2 million (46.9%)[21][22] and winning the Electoral College by 306 to 232.[23][22][21] Biden's victory became clear on November 7, after the ballots (including mail-in ballots) had been tabulated.[24] The Electoral College voted on December 14, in accordance with the law, formalizing Biden's victory.[23]

Before and after the election, Trump and his Trump campaign and allies baselessly challenged the legitimacy of the election and falsely claimed widespread electoral fraud.[25] Trump and his allies filed dozens of legal challenges to the results, which were rejected by at least 86 judges from across the political spectrum, in both the state and federal courts, including by federal judges appointed by Trump himself. The courts found that Trump's claims had no factual or legal basis.[26][27] Trump's unsubstantiated allegations of widespread voting fraud were also refuted by state election officials.[28]

Pro-Trump groups, with the backing of Trump himself, engaged in multiple street protests and demonstrations decrying the election results and echoing Trump's false claim of election fraud.[5] These protests have taken place in Washington, D.C., state capitals, and other locations nationwide; they have included pro-Trump Proud Boys protesters. In November and December 2020, there were nighttime clashes and street scuffles in Washington between Trump supporters who refused to accept the president's defeat, including Proud Boys, and counterprotesters.[5][29][30]

On January 6—the day when Congress formally counts the electoral votes—Trump supporters gathered for the "Save America" rally where attendees heard speeches from Trump and Rudy Giuliani. Before the speeches were over, a mob of protesters marched on Congress and stormed the building.[31] Congress was in session at the time, certifying the Electoral College vote count. Several buildings in the U.S. Capitol complex were evacuated, and protesters broke past security to enter the U.S. Capitol building, including National Statuary Hall.[32][33] All buildings in the Capitol complex were subsequently locked down.[34] There was reportedly an armed standoff at the doors to the House chambers,[35][36] one person was shot within the Capitol building, and one Capitol Police officer died after being beaten with a fire extinguisher.[37][38] At least two improvised explosive devices were found.[39][40]

In the aftermath of the storming of the U.S. Capitol, at least 36 House Democrats called for Trump's immediate impeachment and removal by Congress.[41][42] State-level officials including Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford supported impeachment,[43] and representatives called on Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump via the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[44][45] Trump continued to face backlash in the days following and, due to his use of social media to encourage his supporters' protests and violence, was eventually restricted or banned from most online platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and his preferred Twitter.[46][47]

Armed supporters of Donald Trump have continued protesting in the aftermath of the storming of the US Capitol.[48] As of January 10, armed protests were being planned at the state capitols of most states.[49]

Causes[edit source | edit]

In remarks from the White House on the early hours of November 4, President Trump attacked the vote counting efforts without evidence, calling it "fraud".[50] The president remarked, "We will win this. As far as I'm concerned, we already have won."[51] Major networks provided fact checks and variously interrupted the speech or carried it in full.[52] Furthermore, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon suggested violence against Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray could serve as "a warning to federal bureaucrats" to begin a second term for President Trump.[53]

Observers had been suggesting for months about the possibility of a premature Trump victory claim and then a contested election. This was expected based on the likelihood that the initial votes counted by Election Night would skew heavily Republican and mail-in ballots would skew heavily Democratic, a blue shift that became more favorable to Biden as more votes are counted and could be misrepresented as fraudulent.[54]

Pro-Trump protests[edit source | edit]

Pro-Trump events have taken place around the country beginning on November 4.

November 2020[edit source | edit]

November 4[edit source | edit]

  • In Phoenix, Arizona, pro-Trump protesters gathered to demand the city's remaining ballots be counted.[55] Protests, sometimes about the election and sometimes about racial inequality, also occurred that day in cities, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and San Diego.[55]

November 5[edit source | edit]

  • Facebook banned a group page called "Stop the Steal", which Trump supporters used to organize protests against the election results after his allegations of electoral fraud. It achieved 300,000 followers before Facebook shut it down, citing calls for violence by some participants.[56] It was reported to have been adding 1,000 new members every 10 seconds.[57]
  • In Atlanta, while poll workers inside State Farm Arena counted ballots, pro-Trump protesters gathered outside chanting "Stop the cheat!"[58]

November 6[edit source | edit]

  • In Detroit, over 200 protesters, many without masks and some armed with pistols rallied outside the tally room at TCF Center as Biden and Kamala Harris took the lead in the vote count for the state. Phil Robinson, founder of Michigan Liberty Militia, which has been deemed an "extreme anti-government group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, said he was at the rally to fight tyranny and fraud.[59]
  • In Youngstown, Ohio, about 50 pro-Trump protesters rallied outside the WKBN TV news station. Protect the Results Mahoning Valley called the pro-Trump protests "violent" and said they were organized at the request of the president.[60]
  • Pro-Trump protests were held in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. In Arizona, far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones called on protesters to 'Surround The White House And Support The President'.[61]

November 7[edit source | edit]

  • In Little Rock, Arkansas, a group of around 50 Trump supporters, many of whom were armed, were met with a smaller group of counter-protestors at the State Capitol building.[62]
  • In North Las Vegas, 100 Trump supporters demonstrated outside the Clark County Election Department.[63]
  • In Lansing, more than 500 Trump supporters protested at the state Capitol over what they consider to be a rigged presidential race that led to Biden's election as the president. To illustrate election fraud, one protester pointed to a debunked claim that Biden received 100%, or more than 130,000 Michigan votes, during an election results update.[64]
  • In Raleigh, North Carolina, Ryan Fournier led "Stop the Steal" rallies at Halifax Mall and the North Carolina Executive Mansion. Counter-protesters debated Trump supporters and transformed "Stop the Steal" into a party at Halifax Mall.[65]
  • In Salem, Oregon, two separate protests were seen with participants questioning the results of the election. Four people were arrested during the protests.[66]

November 8[edit source | edit]

  • In Phoenix, Arizona, hundreds of Trump supporters, many of whom were armed, protested Biden's victory, claiming that the Democratic Party had stolen the election. There were also small groups of counter-protesters.[67]
  • In Austintown, Ohio, hundreds of pro-Trump protesters rallied outside local businesses with the intention of marching towards the local Walmart.[68]

November 14[edit source | edit]

Pro-Trump protesters in Raleigh, November 14, 2020
  • In Washington, D.C., thousands of protesters rallied to support President Trump's election claims.[69][70][71] Attendees included white nationalists and members of far-right groups such as the Proud Boys, with some wearing helmets and bullet-proof vests.[72] Some Republican members of Congress also attended.[73] Demonstrators gave various names to their action, including "Million MAGA March", "Stop the Steal" rally, and "March for Trump".[71]
    The President waved to demonstrators as his Secret Service motorcade passed Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue during the morning before traveling to the Trump National Golf Club northwest of Washington.[74][75] The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said it initially arrested 10 people for a variety of reasons including firearm violations, assault, assaulting a police officer, and disorderly conduct, although the number was later changed to 20.[76]
    After nightfall, violence broke out between demonstrators and counter-protesters. Anti-Trump demonstrators began stealing MAGA hats and flags and proceeded to light them on fire. As the unrest continued to unfold, Trump apparel vendor's tables were overturned and fireworks were set off.[69]
    The disturbances culminated when violence broke out five blocks east of the White House between the counter-protesters and the president's supporters, who wielded batons. As the groups approached, they charged each other, brawling for several minutes before police arrived and cleared the intersection. During the melee, a District fire official said a man was stabbed in the back and taken to a hospital.[69]

November 15[edit source | edit]

  • In San Antonio, several hundred protesters, mostly without face coverings, marched from Travis Park through downtown San Antonio, shouting chants such as “Stop the steal! Stop the steal!” and “Trump 2020! Trump 2020!” They eventually passed the Alamo and looped back to their starting point less than an hour after starting their route. At the same time, people in roughly 60 decorated cars celebrated Biden’s victory with a caravan through the city.[77]

November 18[edit source | edit]

  • Talk-show host Alex Jones and political commentator Nick Fuentes led a group of mask-less protesters in "Stop the Steal" protest in the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. He later urged his fans to "go to the capital of Georgia now and you must surround the governor's mansion now".[78]

November 21[edit source | edit]

  • In Sacramento, two hundred protesters attended the protest in support of the President.[79] The protesters marched to Cesar Chavez Plaza, where the protest ended up being declared an unlawful assembly due to fighting.[80] A protester was arrested due to the incident.[81][82]

November 22[edit source | edit]

  • In Charlotte, dozens of protesters rallied to protest election results for the first time in the city. A convoy drove around Marshall Park several times, honking horns and displaying American and Trump flags. The protesters questioned the presidential election results but also alleged the media's coverage of the issue was one-sided. Protesters said bystanders flashed obscene gestures at them, but that it was worth it to get their message out.[83]

November 26[edit source | edit]

  • In Chicago, mostly maskless protesters held a rally in support of Trump at Millennium Park. The leaders included Edgar "Remy Del Toro" Gonzalez, president of the Chicago chapter of the Proud Boys, and supporters of law enforcement while a few dozen anti-Trump activists shouted them down.[84]

December 2020[edit source | edit]

December 5[edit source | edit]

  • In Michigan, the Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson tweeted that dozens of armed protesters gathered outside her home chanting "Stop the Steal" and held signs with the same message. Videos of the protest were later uploaded to social media[85] and part of the protest was live streamed on Facebook.[86]

December 12[edit source | edit]

  • The National Park Service granted a permit allowing a conservative organization, Women for America First, to host a gathering in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., on December 12, with a projected attendance of upwards of 5,000 people.[87] On the day of the event, about 200 members of the Proud Boys joined a march near the Plaza and the Trump International Hotel while dressed in combat fatigues and ballistic vests, carrying helmets, and reportedly using hand signals used by white nationalists. Reported antifa adherents were also at the march to counterprotest, and both groups engaged in fights with one another later that night.[88] In scuffles between protesters and counterprotesters, four people were stabbed and at least 23 were arrested.[89]
    Trump acknowledged the Washington protest, tweeting "Wow! Thousands of people forming in Washington (D.C.) for Stop the Steal. Didn't know about this, but I'll be seeing them!" and drove by in a motorcade.[89][90] Mike Flynn spoke to the crowds as well, stating "My charge to you is to go back to where you are from and make demands. The (U.S. Constitution) is not about collective liberty it is about individual liberties, and they designed it that way."[91]
  • Separate marches, called "Jericho marches" were pushed by church groups, and the "Stop the Steal" organization linked to Roger Stone, with marches planned in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona.[92] v
  • In Indianapolis, members of Proud Boys joined other people on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse and waved American and pro-trump flags as they took turns encouraging each other to continue to oppose the results of the election. One man was quoted saying "We the people are awake, and we the people will not stand down." Other people shared stories about how wearing masks has impacted their lives.[48]

December 19[edit source | edit]

  • In Sacramento, police made several arrests near the California State Capitol as pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters clashed over the results of the presidential election. Since the election, far-right groups like Proud Boys have protested near the Capitol against what they allege was a fraudulent election. Police made the arrests shortly after 1:45 p.m. after protesters started throwing objects over police barricades at officers.[93]

January 2021[edit source | edit]

January 4[edit source | edit]

January 5[edit source | edit]

  • On January 5, 2021, Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser activated 340 of the District of Columbia National Guard due to an organized protest of pro-Trump supporters who planned to rally that evening.[95][96] The rallies had authorities bracing for violent political street clashes. Many businesses in downtown boarded up their windows, fearful the protest could escalate into the unrest seen in May and June when businesses were vandalized.[97] Washington Police made six arrests as of 9 p.m. ET. Those arrested faced charges such as carrying firearms without a license, possession of unregistered ammunition, and possession of an unregistered firearm, assaulting a police officer, and simple assault.[98]

January 6[edit source | edit]

Pro-Trump protesters overrun the U.S. Capitol building, January 6, 2021

On January 6, the protesters planned to march to the United States Capitol.[99] President Donald Trump supported the planned protest via tweets.[100][101] Mayor Bowser asked residents not participating in the protests to "avoid confrontations with anybody who's looking for a fight".[102][103]

A crowd of several thousand first listened to a speech by Trump, in which he repeated his claims that the election had been stolen and said, "We will never give up. We will never concede. ... Our country has had enough. We're not going to take it anymore." He urged them to march on the Capitol and "show strength".[104] Many listeners then marched on the Capitol, where they breached the barricades, broke windows, and stormed inside the Capitol building. They marched through Statuary Hall.[105] Rioters invaded the offices of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, flipping tables and ripping photos from walls; there was looting in the Capitol.[106][107]

The Capitol was locked down, the Senate and House recessed from their discussions about the electoral count, and Vice President Pence was "whisked away" from the chamber.[108][109] Members of Congress were told to put on gas masks after law enforcement began using tear gas within the building. ABC News reported shooting in the Capitol building and an armed standoff at the front door of the House chambers.[110][111] New York Times also said police drew their guns inside the House of Representatives chamber.[112]

Multiple officers were injured in the mob violence at the Capitol.[113][114] One died of his injuries, and another committed suicide over the following weekend. A woman was shot inside the Capitol and later died; no information has been released about the shooter.[115] At least one improvised explosive device was found on Capitol grounds, and another just blocks away at the headquarters of the Republican Party.[39][40]

In the aftermath of the storming of the US capitol, over 250[42][116] members of Congress called for Trump's immediate impeachment and removal by Congress, or by invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[117][118][41] State-level officials who have described Trump's conduct as impeachable include Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford.[43][44][45]

Congresswoman Cori Bush introduced a resolution to have Republican members of the House who supported contesting battleground states' electors in the joint session of Congress be investigated and expelled from office. "The Republican members of Congress who have incited this Domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences." the progressive lawmaker tweeted. "They have broken their sacred Oath of office."[119]

January 9[edit source | edit]

  • In Frankfort, approximately 100 heavily armed protesters assembled for a "patriot rally" outside the Kentucky State Capitol while both chambers of the General Assembly were in session. One of the armed protesters was wearing camouflage from head to toe and carrying several zip ties, explaining that he brought them "just in case." Some of the protesters carried militia flags, pro-Trump insignia, and Three Percenters symbols. "Three days after domestic terrorists attacked our U.S. Capitol, there was a militia rally in Frankfort. They brought zip ties. We will not be intimidated," Governor Andy Beshear tweeted in response.[120]

Anti-Trump[edit source | edit]

November 2020[edit source | edit]

November 4[edit source | edit]

"Count Every Vote" rally in Washington, DC, November 4, 2020
  • In Chicago, hundreds of anti-Trump protesters gathered to express their anger toward Trump's demand for vote counting to stop. City officials raised the Wabash Avenue Bridge in a preemptive move to ward off unrest near Trump Tower.[121]
  • In Houston, several different protests took place downtown. One group marched with anti-Trump posters from Houston City Hall to a federal building. Members of the group carried guns and used a baseball bat to hit a President Trump piñata.[122]
  • In Kansas City, protesters gathered at Mill Creek Park to demand that every vote be counted.[123]
  • In Minneapolis, two groups of protesters were expected to march two miles, one beginning on Cedar Avenue in Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, and another from Hennepin County Government Center downtown. Hundreds of protesters began to walk out onto eastbound Interstate 94, leading to traffic being backed up for miles. Police arrested and then released 646 protesters who were blocking Interstate 94.[124][125]
  • In Manhattan, protesters and police clashed near Union Square, resulting in 25 arrests and more than 30 summonses. Weapons were found by police on some people at the march including knives, a Taser and M-80 explosives.[126][124]
  • In Pittsburgh, Multiple protests were organized by several groups such as Pittsburgh United, United Steelworkers, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, and Bend the Arc to "count every vote."[127]
  • In Portland, Oregon, anti-Trump protesters demanded that every vote in the election be counted. This led to the declaration of a riot after police saw people smashing business windows. Oregon Governor Kate Brown activated the state's National Guard to help police manage the unrest.[128]
  • In Seattle, hundreds took to the streets to demand a full count of all votes and a halt to Trump's challenges to stop counts in some key battleground states. Seven people were arrested on Capitol Hill on suspicions of obstruction, pedestrian interference, property damage, resisting arrest, and assaulting officers.[129]
  • In Dallas, demonstrators marched to Dallas City Hall to demand that every vote be counted. The participants represented several organizations, with speakers addressing the crowd in both English and Spanish. Afterward, demonstrators held a candlelight vigil.[130]

November 5[edit source | edit]

  • In Philadelphia, groups of anti-Trump protesters gathered outside Philadelphia Convention Center where counting continued of mailed-in ballots with signs such as "Count every vote," "Black votes matter," while a similarly sized group of pro-Trump protesters carried signs like "Sorry, polls are closed," and "Make America Great Again."[131]

November 8[edit source | edit]

  • In St. Louis, demonstrators from liberal groups gathered downtown to celebrate Trump's defeat, vowing to keep protesting for progressive policy and keep pushing progressive reforms. Carrying signs that included “Dump Trump is just the beginning,” and “Quarantine Trump forever,” the group marched from City Hall to the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse, which organizers said symbolized the fight they expect Trump to continue in courts to maintain power.[132]

Anti-Trump and anti-Biden[edit source | edit]

  • In Portland, hundreds of anarchists and anti-fascists protested throughout Portland, against both presidential candidates. Protesters carried signs stating "Strong communities make politicians obsolete", "We don't want Biden we want revenge", and chanted "fuck Biden". A small section of protesters began rioting near an ICE detention center facility, and the Oregon Army National Guard was sent into Portland. 17 protesters were arrested.[133] Anarchists generally embrace the notion of the "ungovernable generation", the idea that the political system is inherently broken, rejecting party politics as well as the electoral system, arguing instead that change should be done through grassroots organizations.[134]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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