Protesters clashed with police in Washington on Saturday, as thousands of Donald Trump supporters staged a rally against the presidential election result just two days before it was cemented by the Electoral College.
Small brawls erupted in the city center throughout the evening as police struggled to keep pro-Trump rallies – some led by the far-right Proud Boys movement – away from counter-protesters.
Earlier today, members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle addressed the crowd gathered for the “MAGA Million March,” including Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to the president. recently pardoned. Trump supporters chanted “Stop the theft!” and “Four more years!”
The rallies took place a day after the US Supreme Court dismissed a last minute trial challenge the loss of Mr. Trump in last month’s election.
Many of his supporters have expressed their rage against the Republican Party as well as Fox News, a sign of how Mr. Trump’s defeat has driven a wedge between his supporters and the organizations that propelled him to power.
Mr. Trump appeared to give his blessing to the protests, Tweeter: “Awesome! Thousands of people are forming in Washington (DC) for Stop the Steal. I didn’t know about it, but I’ll see them! #MAGA.”
Two helicopters later passed over the demonstration, which many of its supporters believed to be the president leaving to attend the American football game between the US military and the Navy in New York.
Saturday’s protest was smaller than the one held in the capital a month ago in the wake of Mr. Trump’s defeat. Several hundred demonstrators came from the Proud Boys group, which Mr. Trump said during the presidential debate in September to “take a step back and stay upright”.
Wearing yellow scarves, caps and kilts, members of the Proud Boys broke away from the main rally and clashed with anti-racist protesters. Videos posted on social networks shown demonstrators attack each other carrying sticks and shields. Video shows protesters setting a Black Lives Matter banner on fire.
The electoral college will meet on Monday to formally vote on behalf of each state and confirm Mr Biden’s victory by 306 votes to 232. One of the last remaining challenges to this process was dismissed on Friday, when the Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the state of Texas to reject election results in four battlefield states Mr. Trump lost.
Speaking to protesters on Saturday, Mr. Flynn insisted: “The courts do not decide who will be the next President of the United States. There are paths that are still at stake. ”
But Mr. Trump has already said he will leave the White House if the electoral college confirms Mr. Biden as president. Mr Biden is due to be inaugurated as president on January 20.