Protests and celebrations erupt as Biden wins U.S. presidency

Protests and celebrations erupt as Biden wins U.S. presidency

A smattering of protests broke out around the U.S. on Saturday after former Vice-President Joe Biden won the presidency, with President Donald Trump and his supporters refusing to accept defeat and pushing unfounded suspicions that rampant voter fraud was denying him a second term.

A theme quickly emerged among Trump and his allies: They’re suspicious that the system was rigged and they’re unwilling to accept the results even without any specific evidence of fraud.

Outside the state capitol building in the long-held Republican stronghold of Georgia, chants of “lock him up” rang out among estimated 1,000 Trump supporters. Others chanted “This isn’t over! This isn’t over!” and “Fake news!” The streets outside the capitol were awash with American flags and Trump flags.

Supporters of Donald Trump carry firearms while demonstrating outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol on Saturday in Harrisburg, Pa., after Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump to become 46th president of the United States. (Julio Cortez/The Associated Press)

No violence was reported, although at one point, police moved to separate Trump opponents from his supporters. Georgia, which hasn’t gone for a Democrat since 1992, was on the cusp of swinging into Biden’s corner. While a key battleground state, Biden was pushed over into the win column with projected results from Pennsylvania and Nevada to secure enough electoral votes to become the nation’s 46th president.

Jordan Kelley, a 29-year-old from Murfreesboro, Tenn., drove to 3-plus hours to Atlanta to attend a pro-Trump rally.

“There’s election fraud going on here,” he said, voicing the belief that voters in Georgia, a state led by a Republican governor and with a Republican secretary of state, had been improperly counted to put Biden ahead. “Even though I live in Tennessee, I’m an American and I want to make sure Americans have a voice in the election.”

WATCH | Trump supporters in Arizona in disbelief over Biden win:

In spite of widespread projections for a Joe Biden win, Donald Trump supporters at a pre-planned gathering site in Phoenix, Ariz., Saturday insisted Biden is not the next president and repeated Trump’s unproven allegations of voter fraud. 2:12

Kelley planned to make the 10-hour trip to Washington, D.C., next week to demonstrate on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, where Trump and his lawyers have vowed to eventually make his case.

Armed pro-Trump protesters

Since the polls closed on Election Day on Tuesday, Trump supporters — some of them armed — have gathered outside buildings where votes were being tabulated, many carrying Trump flags.

Shortly after Biden was projected to win the presidential race, some 75 Trump protesters gathered Saturday morning outside the election tabulation centre in downtown Phoenix. That crowd swelled to more than 1,000 within hours.

“This election has not been called!” yelled Jake Angeli, a regular at are pro-Trump rallies who typically wears a wooly fur hat with horns. “Don’t believe that lie! They got their hands caught in the cookie jar and we’re going to the Supreme Court!”

“Trump always looks like he’s going to lose. And then he wins, ” Angeli said.

Jake Angeli, a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks at a rally outside the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office on Saturday in Phoenix. Saturday’s pro-Trump demonstrations have remained mostly peaceful so far. (Ross D. Franklin/The Associated Press)

Kelli Ward, former state senator and chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, told boisterous pro-Trump demonstrators that she was involved in an effort to force a hand count of ballots to ensure that every single one was counted correctly.

“It’s very suspicious that President Trump, with the red wave we’ve been seeing in Arizona, is struggling,” she said. “I want to know if there is any discrepancy with the numbers coming out of the machines.”

Amid the tensions, there was at least one scene that could portend what is to come. In Lansing, Mich., a group of about 50 Trump supporters and a smaller group of marchers carrying Black Lives Matter flags converged on the Michigan State Capitol where they pushed, shoved and shouted at one another in a tense standoff. But within moments of the race being called, a few from both sides broke into prayers and at least one pair hugged.

Still, tensions flared up again when more Trump supporters arrived on the scene and BLM members retreated through the growing crowd.

As Trump’s motorcade made its way through the streets of Washington on his way back to the White House after playing a round of golf in Virginia, protesters booed and shouted expletives. The U.S. Secret Service had closed several streets around the White House ahead of Trump’s return and as the motorcade rolled by, there were shouts of “loser!” that rang out and people waving their middle fingers in the air.

So far, though, celebrations and revelry were carrying the day.

New York parties

In Brooklyn, N.Y., several hundred people were heard erupting in cheers and dancing in the streets and the air was filled with honking horns. There also was a banging of pots and pans. One car stopped in the middle of the street outside Barclays Center, the driver got out and jumped on the hood of his car, motioning for people to come in to the street; the car was soon swarmed by people cheering.

In the nation’s capital, people streamed into Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, waving sings and taking cellphone pictures.

WATCH | Kamala Harris’s historic win:

Diverse American women describe what it means to them to have Kamala Harris elected as the first female vice president of the United States. 2:37

Election officials in several states where Biden led said the anger outside their doors made them fear for the safety of their employees. They were girding for more unrest in the days ahead as Trump so far had refused to concede.

Those carrying weapons insist they are keeping the peace.

“I’m here to protect a peaceful protest,” Keith Owen, who carried a black, semiautomatic assault rifle and wore a handgun in a holster strapped to his leg, said Friday before the race was called. His vest held extra ammunition. He described himself as a veteran who served in Afghanistan and now lives in Arizona.

People celebrate in New York’s Times Square after former vice-president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was announced as the winner over President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday. (Ted Shaffrey/The Associated Press)

He was among roughly 100 Trump supporters gathered for a third straight day Friday in front of the Phoenix elections centre, where hundreds of workers were processing and counting ballots.

WATCH | Biden supporters celebrate in Philadelphia:

Moments after major TV networks determined Joe Biden had enough electoral college votes to secure the U.S. presidency, his supporters in Philadelphia celebrated in the streets and described what his win means to them following a tight race. 10:45

“We just want them to know we won’t let them get away with anything. We want to make sure all the legal ballots are counted, and fairly,” said another rifle-bearing protester, Travis Fillmore, 34, a military veteran from Tempe, Ariz.

“Arrest the poll workers!” the crowd chanted, demanding four more years in office for Trump. Sheriff’s deputies kept protesters in a “free speech” zone away from the entrance to the building.

Supporters of U.S. president-elect Biden rally in Atlanta on Saturday. (Marie Morrissey/CBC News)

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