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Trump, Biden supporters return to street for dueling protests on vote count

Several arrested overnight in Seattle, Portland and Minneapolis as pro-Biden demonstrators demand all votes be counted and Trump backers allege vote-theft

People rally for US President Donald Trump outside City Hall, November 5, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. (AP /Matt York)
People rally for US President Donald Trump outside City Hall, November 5, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. (AP /Matt York)

Protesters demanding that all votes be tallied and opponents supporting US President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud returned to the street Thursday morning, as tabulations of the presidential election continued into a third day, keeping a jittery public on edge.

The protests in key battleground states came a day after demonstrations in several cities Wednesday night, some of which turned violent, as each side attempted to ensure that their candidate wins the White House.

As of Thursday afternoon, Democrat Joe Biden appeared poised to unseat President Donald Trump after clinching a number of battleground states and narrowing Trump’s lead in others. However, hundreds of thousands of votes remained to be counted in six states, and the Trump campaign was furiously filing legal challenges slowing ballot counts in some places.

In Phoenix, at least two dozen Trump supporters gathered outside city hall Thursday morning, chanting “Protect Our Vote.” The group said they planned to return to the tabulation center, where a Wednesday night rally had decried a declaration by Fox News that Biden was the winner in Arizona.

Trump supporter Charles Littleton, center, argues with Biden supporter Angelo Austin, right, as Trump supporters protest election results outside the central counting board at the TCF Center in Detroit, Mich., Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP/David Goldman)

In Detroit, a few dozen Trump supporters gathered outside the city’s convention center Thursday morning, as election workers counted absentee ballots inside. They held signs that said “stop the steal” and “stop the cheat.”

A small group of counter-protesters gathered on the other side of the street, and the two sides shouted at each other. Trump’s supporters occasionally mocked those on the other side over a loudspeaker.

In Philadelphia, dozens of protesters from each side of the political aisle held a march, demanding the votes either be counted or discounted.

The protests came as the president insisted, without evidence, that there were major problems with voting and counting of ballots. Republicans filed lawsuits in multiple states, preparing to contest election results.

Overnight, police arrested dozens of people in Seattle, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon during protests demanding a tally of all votes in the US election.

In Seattle, seven people were arrested. One person arrested for allegedly damaging property was taken to a hospital after “experiencing a medical episode,” police said in a statement early Thursday.

In Minneapolis, police arrested more than 600 demonstrators who marched onto an interstate Wednesday night protesting Trump’s threats to challenge the election results, as well as a variety of social injustices.

No force or chemicals were used to make the arrests for walking on a freeway and being a public nuisance, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Thursday.

People march during a protest after the US elections, November 4, 2020, in Portland, Oregon. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

In Portland, protesters smashed windows at businesses, hurled objects including fireworks at officers. Police made at least 10 arrests, according to a statement from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers seized multiple firearms, ammunition, a knife, fireworks, body armor and gas masks from people who were arrested, a sheriff’s office statement said.

One of the people who was arrested had a rifle with a magazine of ammunition, fireworks, a knife and was wearing a ballistics vest, the sheriff’s office said.

Representative Jim Jordan stands with dozens of people calling for stopping the vote count in Pennsylvania due to alleged fraud against US President Donald Trump gather on the steps of the State Capital on November 5, 2020 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Oregon Governor Kate Brown called out the National Guard to manage the unrest in Portland, which has been a scene of regular protests for months.

“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.

Portland protester Richard March said he came despite a heart condition that makes him vulnerable to COVID-19.

“To cast doubt on this election has terrible consequences for our democracy,” he said. “I think we are a very polarized society now — and I’m worried about what’s going to come in the next days and weeks and months.”

In New York, hundreds of people paraded past boarded-up luxury stores on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, and in Chicago, demonstrators marched through downtown and along a street across the river from Trump Tower. Protesters also gathered in cities including Los Angeles, Houston, Pittsburgh and San Diego.

Demonstrators march to urge that all votes be counted, November 4, 2020, in Philadelphia, following the US election. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

At vote counting centers in Michigan and Arizona Wednesday, protesters demanded access to observe the vote counting.

“We’re not going to let this election be stolen. Period,” Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican and staunch Trump supporter, told the armed crowd Wednesday.

Observers from both major political parties were inside the election center as ballots were processed and counted, and the procedure was live-streamed online at all times.

Several sheriff’s deputies blocked the entrance to the building. The vote-counting went on into the night, Maricopa County Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson said.

“Everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person,” said the statement issued by two top county officials — one a Democrat and the other a Republican. “An accurate vote takes time. … This is evidence of democracy, not fraud.”

People wanting to be election challengers yell as they look through the windows of the central counting board as police were helping to keep additional challengers from entering due to overcrowding, November 4, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

A similar scene unfolded in Detroit, with police being called int to intervene as Trump supporters banged on windows and demanded to be let in.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, insisted Wednesday that both parties and the public had been given access to the tallying, “using a robust system of checks and balances to ensure that all ballots are counted fairly and accurately.”

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