Members of Antifa and Proud Boys clash in the middle of the street following the “Million MAGA March” on November 14, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum | Getty Images News | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — Tensions flared Saturday night as supporters of President Donald Trump and his unfounded claims of voter fraud clashed with counterprotesters in the streets of the nation’s capital.
Thousands of Trump supporters gathered earlier in the day to protest the result of the presidential race, marching in the afternoon from Freedom Plaza to the Supreme Court, where Republican lawmakers and party leaders addressed the largely unmasked crowd.
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By nightfall, local police officers were seen wearing riot gear, and at least one person was stabbed when a fight broke out between two large groups.
Officials with the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department said the fight was related to the ongoing protests, NBC Washington reported. The victim was listed in critical condition.
At least 20 people were arrested throughout the day, and two police officers were injured. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known. It was unclear whether the people arrested were in favor of or against Trump.
The president appeared to follow the night’s developments, encouraging local police in a tweet to “get going — do your job and don’t hold back!!!”
While aides say that Trump is coming around to the reality that he lost to Joe Biden, the president’s public attacks on the validity of the election results and his unwillingness to concede has allowed for conspiracy theories and misinformation to fester, particularly among his most devoted fans.
“Something doesn’t feel right. If we lost fair and square, we’d take it. But it needs to be verified,” said Barbara Lipponen, 54, a real estate agent from Norfolk, Virginia, adding it was important to her to show up so Trump knew “he’s not fighting alone.”
“It doesn’t add up. If he lost, then we need to say ‘OK, he lost.’ But this is not the process I fought for,” said Charmion Prince, 48, an army veteran from Tennessee. Prince, like many other Trump supporters, said she went to bed on election night thinking the president would be re-elected. She grew skeptical of the results as more ballots were counted in the following days, putting Biden ahead.
“I saw the trends. It evaporated out of thin air in Pennsylvania,” said James Dozer, 47, from Alabama. “All of a sudden at four in the morning, boom, Biden’s leading. Democracies are stolen in the dead of night.”
Dozer said it would take a “full hand recount” in every state for him to be “convinced” that Biden won.
Top government and industry officials said in a statement on Thursday that the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history” and that there was “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”
Still, thousands of protesters gathered in Freedom Plaza Saturday morning, just across the street from the White House and the Trump International Hotel, for the events, which were organized under various names including “Million MAGA March,” “March for Trump” and “Stop the Steal.”
Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group that Trump declined to denounce during the first presidential debate, endorsed the events. Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, one of the organizers of the deadly Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, also promoted the march, among other far-right figures.