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Politics 'It's not over': Trump supporters begin flocking to state capitols after Biden victory is announced

21:50  07 november  2020
21:50  07 november  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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As word finally came Saturday after an exhausting and tense week that Joe Biden will become the 46th U.S. president, cities across the nation braced for a darker side: potential violence.

Some supporters of President Donald Trump flocked to state capitols as encouraged by a campaign called "Stop the Steal," an effort to delegitimize the vote count that was booted from Facebook for spreading misinformation and inciting violence.

Amid a few exchanges of heated words, the initial counterprotests were mostly peaceful in the hours after Biden's victory was announced. Hundreds of fervent supporters of President Donald Trump massed outside the state Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, waving signs saying "it's not over" and chanting "we won."

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a group of people wearing costumes: Trump supporters, at left, demonstrating the election results are confronted by counterprotesters at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Nov. 7, 2020. © David Goldman, AP Trump supporters, at left, demonstrating the election results are confronted by counterprotesters at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Nov. 7, 2020.

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Outside the Capitol in Albany, New York, Trump supporters hoisted U.S. flags and posters saying "stop the steal."

At the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, protesters marched with signs that read "stop election fraud."

For months, Trump has sought to cast doubt on the integrity of elections that rely significantly on vote-by-mail ballots. He has claimed, without proof, that the election has been rigged against him, and he continued to fan those flames Saturday. But election experts say that taking time to count votes is not a sign of misconduct.

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Officials across the U.S. had reason to be concerned about violence. Armed protesters – some carrying shotguns, some handguns and others military semiautomatic rifles – have congregated throughout the week outside offices where workers were counting ballots. They showed up at voting centers fueled by unfounded accusations by Trump that Democrats were trying to steal the election.

In several battleground states, dueling groups engaged Friday in a war of words, with protesters chanting "count the votes" and other groups shouting "stop the steal."

Many major U.S. metropolitan areas have taken on the unsettling look of fortresses all week as restaurants, retail stories and other businesses have boarded up windows.

A Belgium-based think tank that focuses on preventing deadly conflicts around the world – usually in places such as Ethiopia – had the U.S. in its sights for the first time, issuing a report warning about election violence

"The 2020 U.S. presidential election presents risks not seen in recent history. It is conceivable that violence could erupt during voting or protracted ballot counts. Officials should take extra precautions," warned the International Crisis Group.

Some of the protests and rallies earlier in the week took on a festive and joyful air. Demonstrators outside ground zero – Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House –on Friday danced to go-go music and hugged friends as smiles abounded.

Some carrying weapons outside polls say their mission is a peaceful one.

“I’m here to protect a peaceful protest,” said Keith Owen, who carried a semiautomatic assault rifle and wore a handgun in a holster strapped to his leg. His vest held extra ammunition. Owen, who described himself as a veteran who served in Afghanistan, was among roughly 100 Trump supporters gathered for a third straight day Friday in front of the Phoenix elections center.

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The county treasurer in Detroit, Eric Sabree, said he had closed his office because of threats. In a statement, Sabree said the decision was made “in the interest of the safety of taxpayers and our staff” and because of “credible information” from the sheriff’s office.

In Philadelphia, two men with handguns were arrested Thursday night near the convention center where the vote-counting was going on. The men, ages 42 and 61, had driven up in a Hummer from Virginia and did not have permits to carry the weapons in Pennsylvania, police said. The car had a window sticker for the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'It's not over': Trump supporters begin flocking to state capitols after Biden victory is announced

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Dr. Scott Atlas, who sits on Trump's coronavirus task force, said "the only way this stops is if people rise up," after Michigan enacted restrictions.Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.

usr: 1
This is interesting!