Protests that have formed in cities across the county since Election Day continued Friday as Vice President Joe Biden took the vote count lead ahead of President Donald Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania.
In several battleground states, dueling groups – some chanting “count the votes” and others “stop the steal” – gathered outside locations where votes were being tallied Friday. While some scenes were more akin to joyful dance parties, other demonstrations saw protesters without masks and armed with pistols.
Meanwhile, supporters of Biden, who was on the cusp of a presidential victory Friday, were gathering in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
Here’s how protests are playing out across the country Friday:
- Roughly 100 people gathered for a pro-Trump protest outside the Maricopa County Elections headquarters in Phoenix on Friday, chanting “count the votes” for the third straight day
- North Carolina Republicans held a protest Friday in downtown Raleigh’s state government complex, according to local news reports.
- On Friday afternoon, competing groups of protesters clashed in Pittsburgh, near where Allegheny County officials continued their ballot counts.
- “Count Every Vote” protesters in New York and Philadelphia were largely optimistic Friday. The scenes have gone viral, in large part, due to the vibrancy of the public displays and its participants.
- More than 200 protesters — many without masks and some armed with pistols — rallied Friday outside the tally room at the TCF Center in Detroit. The nearby Wayne County Treasurer’s Office closed early due to credible information from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office of threats, according to a release from the treasury office.
- Thursday night, the Philadelphia Police Department arrested two men who allegedly were armed and heading to the city’s convention center.
Competing groups clash in Pittsburgh
On Friday afternoon, competing groups of protesters clashed in Pittsburgh, near where Allegheny County officials continued their ballot counts.
Sheriff’s deputies moved toward the group as the rhetoric escalated, dividing them, before a line of Pittsburgh police in full gear with batons held the groups apart, pushing spectators onto the street, which the police had barricaded off.
As of Friday afternoon, Biden was leading Trump in Pennsylvania by 49.5% to 49.3%, with 98% of estimated total votes counted.
– Jo Ciavaglia, Bucks County Courier Times
Biden voters gather in New York City to celebrate likely win
In New York, what had been ‘Count Every Vote’ protests only days earlier turned into dance parties Friday, as thousands descended on Washington Square Park.
Photos showed signs emblazoned with “Dump Trump” and “You’re Fired” — after Trump’s famous Celebrity Apprentice slogan — as groups chanted and sang. Several noted on twitter that “Protestors are not waiting for an AP call to declare Joe Biden winner.”
Biden easily defeated Trump in New York on Tuesday, capturing the state’s 29 electoral votes in a race the Democrat was widely expected to win.
The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office moved to close early Friday due to protesters, a treasurer’s office spokesman said. The office was closing early in Detroit due to credible information from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office of threats, according to a release Friday from the treasury office.
However, treasurer’s office spokesman Mario Morrow said in a text message that no direct threats were made. “We closed because we were notified of (President Donald) Trump protesters coming to 400 Monroe,” he said. “We just want to let our customers know we are closing today.”
The news came as a group of more than 200 protesters gathered outside the TCF Center, which played host to absentee ballot counting this week.
– Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press
Rhode Island protesters demand recount
In Rhode Island, about 100 protesters rallied outside the state board of elections headquarters, demanding a recount in an overwhelmingly Democratic state where Biden won with more than 59% of the vote.
Protesters said ballots were illegally dumped in Rhode Island, but offered no evidence. State elections officials have said they have no evidence of fraud.
We demand a recount in Jesus’ name!” protest leader Kathleen Forant shouted, as state police stood nearby.
– Associated Press
Dozens of people gathered for a pro-Trump protest outside the Maricopa County Elections headquarters in Phoenix on Friday, chanting “count the votes.”
What’s happening in Arizona?:Trump’s vote margin in Maricopa County is well short of what he needs
Republicans protest in Raleigh
North Carolina Republicans held a press conference and protest Friday in downtown Raleigh’s state government complex, according to local news reports. Dozens of people gathered in MAGA hats with “Trump 2020” flags.
The protesters wanted Trump to be declared the winner of the state despite the uncounted ballots, according to local outlets.
As of Friday afternoon, Trump was leading Biden 50.1% to 48.7%, with 94% of the total votes counted.
With Joe Biden on the cusp of a presidential victory Friday, his supporters were gathering in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
The excitement was palpable outside the secure zone of the Chase Center, where Biden is expected to speak later in the day. Passing the time near their parked cars, supporters held signs and American flags, while exchanging shouts of, “It’s gonna be a great day” and “Here we go, guys!”
Thomas Kunish, 40, likened it to a tailgate party. He had arrived from Pittsburgh with his 5-year-old son and perched a stuffed dinosaur on top of his pickup truck with a Biden-Harris sign. In between interviews with journalists, he tossed a football back and forth with his son.
Some supporters, like Zach Rossetti, 25, have been here for days. After watching Biden vote in their shared hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Election Day, Rossetti drove to Wilmington to await a result. He’s been spending days at the Chase Center and nights at a hotel – but today felt different for him. “I am so certain we’re going to have a result today,” he said.
– Camille Caldera
“Count Every Vote” protesters in front of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia were largely optimistic Friday. CBC News reporter Steven D’Souza noted on Twitter that despite pro-Trump protesters waiting in the wings, “the party” was already in full swing.
The scenes have gone viral, in large part, due to the vibrancy of the public displays and its participants, who have included “Sesame Street” character Elmo and Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot Gritty — or at least knockoff versions of the beloved red and orange fluffballs. Gritty was seen dancing to house music, while a dancing mailbox took to the streets to shake it out to Missy Elliott.
In West Philadelphia, as the news broke that Pennsylvania had shifted blue, a smaller, but just as celebratory dance party took place in front of residents’ homes.
– Joshua Bote
More than 200 protesters — many without masks and some armed with pistols — rallied Friday morning outside the tally room at the TCF Center in Detroit.
As protesters complained of what they are claiming is voting fraud, police began to add road barricades, closing a main roadway and separating the group from a smaller band of counter-protesters who also began to show up.
Meanwhile, a counter-protest began, as police tried to keep the groups apart.
As of Friday afternoon, there was one arrest. Police handcuffed Rob Cortis, the owner of the Trump Unity Bridge truck, a mobile platform that he has been driving to political events throughout the state to campaign for the president.
– Omar Abdel-Baqui, Slone Terranella and Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press
The Philadelphia Police Department arrested two men Thursday night who allegedly were armed and heading to the city’s convention center where ballots were being counted. Firearms charges were pending for the two men.
Police said they received information Thursday that “individuals armed with firearms were en route to the Convention Center area operating a silver Hummer truck.”
At 10:20 p.m., officers spotted the truck unattended and steps away from the Convention Center. Two bike patrol officers then observed two men with guns. A search revealed that neither man had a valid Pennsylvania permit to carry, and they were arrested, Philadelphia police said.
Police said the men acknowledged the Hummer was their vehicle and an additional gun was discovered inside.
– Jeff Neiburg, Delaware News Journal