After Trump march: Arrests, accusations and COVID-19 fines
WASHINGTON (AP) — After a weekend with dozens of arrests and scattered clashes between supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump, both sides took to social media to accuse the other of instigating violence. Meanwhile, a long-standing D.C. bar is in danger of losing its liquor license after becoming a haven for Trump supporters who refused to follow local COVID-19 restrictions.
All told, 21 people were arrested, including one juvenile, for charges that included disorderly conduct, inciting violence and assault.
The violence took place Saturday night after a largely peaceful day in which 10,000 to 15,000 Trump supporters rallied behind the president’s unfounded claims of massive irregularities and voting fraud. Democrat Joe Biden won the election, but Trump has not conceded.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, both Republican and Democratic election officials have said the election went well and international observers confirmed no serious irregularities.
Around sunset Saturday, a group of around 200 counterprotesters who had been marching through the city coalesced a block from Black Lives Matter Plaza, which police had sealed off. This group, which included Black Lives Matter members and people associated with antifa, sought to prevent Trump supporters from entering the area.
The scattered groups of Trump supporters who did attempt to enter were harassed, doused with water and in some cases had their flags and “Make America Great Again” hats snatched and burned. Police used bicycles to form walls, separating the groups multiple times. Later, a larger, more organized group of Trump supporters, including members of the far-right fascist group Proud Boys, attempted to confront the counterprotesters, leading to a series of brief but chaotic brawls that left several injured and one person with stab wounds.
Washington’s police chief praised the conduct of his department, saying it was “quite remarkable” that there wasn’t more violence, injuries or property damage.