As pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, others supporting the president gathered in state capitals nationwide to oppose President-elect Joe Biden’s win, leading to the evacuations of some statehouses and lawmakers.
Violence erupted in Washington, D.C., as Congress tried to affirm Biden’s Electoral College victory. A mob breached the U.S. Capitol, resulting in four deaths and at least 70 arrests.
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The chaos in the nation’s capital came as hundreds of people gathered in state capitals from Georgia to New Mexico, with many carrying flags and waving signs that read “Stop the steal” and “Four more years.” Some carried guns in places like Oklahoma, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Washington state.
While most demonstrations were peaceful, with some remaining small in size, there were reports of scuffles breaking out in states like Utah, Oregon and California.
Dozens of protesters, some of whom were armed, broke through a gate at the Washington governor’s mansion in Olympia and gathered on the lawn for about 30 minutes before being cleared from the area.
The Washington State Patrol tweeted that Gov. Jay Inslee “and his family are in a safe location,” without elaborating.
The crowd carried signs saying “Stop the steal” and “Trump won 2020.” They were heard repeating baseless allegations of election fraud.
Protesters had earlier gathered outside the state Capitol to demand a recount of the U.S. presidential election and the state’s gubernatorial election. Inslee, a Democrat, won by more the 500,000 votes.
A patrol spokesman said no arrests were made, Q13 FOX reported.
As several hundred protesters gathered outside the state Capitol building in Salt Lake City, Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson sent staff home as a precautionary measure.
Some of the protesters were armed and many did not wear masks or follow social distancing.
The demonstrations remained mostly peaceful, FOX13 Salt Lake City reported. However, Salt Lake Tribune photographer Rick Egan said he was pepper-sprayed by a demonstrator who taunted him for wearing a mask and shoved him as he was shooting video of the protest.
It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was arrested.
A pro-Trump rally near City Hall in downtown Los Angeles began peacefully, but turned violent after police declared an unlawful assembly, FOX11 Los Angeles reported.
Shouting matches and fistfights broke out between small groups of protesters and counterprotesters, according to the station. Police arrested six people.
Hundreds of pro-Trump supporters crowded on the steps of the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, waving flags and signs saying “Stop the steal” to protest the certification vote of Biden.
These demonstrations did not turn violent, and ended early due to light rain, FOX25 Oklahoma City reported.
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The arrival of a caravan of hundreds of flag-waving Trump supporters in vehicles and on horseback prompted the New Mexico police to evacuate staff from a Statehouse building as a precautionary measure as chaos and violence broke out in Washington, D.C.
Demonstrators sang “God Bless America,” honked horns and wrongly announced on a megaphone that Trump was the rightful election winner — though Biden won the vote in New Mexico by a margin of roughly 11%.
Local news outlets reported that the protests remained peaceful.
A spokesman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said there were no indications of threats or unrest at the Statehouse, KRQE-TV reported.
Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff evacuated their offices at the Capitol as about 100 protesters gathered outside, some armed with long guns.
Trump has spoken out against Raffensperger over the state’s vote count, which he lost to Biden by about 12,000 votes.
In Colorado, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock ordered city agencies to close buildings after hundreds gathered in front of the Capitol building for a protest against the election results.
Protesters scuffled with counterprotesters at the Oregon Capitol in Salem as riot police moved in.
At least one person was arrested on suspicion of harassment and disorderly conduct as police in riot gear tried to get people – many of them armed – to leave. The area was largely cleared by midafternoon.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.