Spirits ignite as Trump supporters gather in Washington

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WASHINGTON – Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump have returned to Washington for weekend rallies to support his desperate efforts to overthrow the election he lost to Joe Biden.

Sporadic fighting broke out between pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters after sunset on Saturday. WRC-TV reported that four people were taken to a hospital with stab wounds and the Metropolitan Police Department told the station that 23 people were arrested.

The mostly unmasked rallies of Trump worshipers were conceived as a show of force just two days before the constituency convened to formally elect Biden as the 46th president. Trump, whose term will end on Jan.20, refuses to concede, while clinging to baseless fraud claims that were dismissed by state and federal courts, and the Supreme Court on Friday.

Trump tweeted his apparent surprise Saturday morning at the rallies, publicly known for weeks: “Wow! Thousands of people are forming in Washington (DC) for Stop the Steal. I didn’t know about it, but I will see them! #MAGA ”

Trump left the White House around noon to attend the Army-Navy football game at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York. As the Marine One helicopter passed over a rally on the National Mall, cheers rose.

Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser recently pardoned by Trump, was speaking from the stage at the time.

“It’s pretty cool. Just imagine being able to jump in a helicopter and take a merry ride around Washington, ”said Flynn, whose pardon erased his conviction for lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation.

During a pro-Trump protest in Washington a month ago, Trump delighted his supporters when he passed in his motorcade on their way to his Virginia golf club.

The protest, which drew 10,000 to 15,000 people in the capital, ended late in the evening with scattered clashes between Trump loyalists and local activists near Black Lives Matter Plaza, near the White House.

Police took more action on Saturday to separate the two sides, closing a wide swath of the city center to traffic and blocking Black Lives Matter Plaza.

But while Saturday’s rallies, including one in Freedom Plaza downtown, were smaller than on November 14, they drew a larger contingent from the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group known to incite street violence. . Some wore bulletproof vests when crossing town.

The group saw their profile uplifted after Trump in September told them to “step back and be ready.”

After the rallies ended, downtown Washington quickly turned into a mob of hundreds of Proud Boys and combined forces of local antifa and black activists – with both sides looking to confront each other in a flooded area. police officers. As night fell, they clashed on either side of a street, with several lines of city and federal park police, some in riot gear, keeping them separate.

A Proud Boy shouted, “You can’t be everywhere, cops!” The Proud Boys later dispersed.

The Antifa activists were also more organized this time around, with their own corps of bicycles to form bicycle walls to match those of the police.

Earlier in the day, a group of about 50 men in black and yellow from the Proud Boys surrounded the perimeter of Black Lives Matter Plaza, where about 200 anti-Trump protesters gathered.

They chanted vulgar slogans and at one point they started chanting “Jingle Bells”. They had apparently been ordered not to engage with rowdies. A man speaking to people was yelled at and said, “Don’t interact!

The National Mall assembly, called “Jericho March,” has been described on its website as a “prayer rally” with speakers “praying that the walls of corruption and voter fraud come down.”

The rally in Freedom Plaza also featured a series of speakers pushing debunked allegations of voter fraud to a receptive audience.

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Sylvia Huff, a protester who came from Gloucester, Va., To show her support for Trump, said the legal defeats had not shaken his belief that he had won the election.

“I believe the courts were also on the right track,” she said. The Supreme Court, where three of the nine justices were appointed by Trump, “simply feared a political backlash,” she said.

Among the speakers was Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump adviser, who urged protesters not to give up even after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling. He said he wanted to send Trump a video and held up his phone, calling on the flag-waving crowd to chant “Stop the Steal.”

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