What to Know
- Hundreds of people demonstrated near the White House Tuesday night as they waited to find out who would be the next president of the United States
- Four people were arrested in two separate incidents
- Downtown businesses boarded up windows and a "non-scalable" fence surrounded the White House in case of potential unrest
Demonstrations in Washington, D.C., were largely peaceful on election night, with four people arrested as many others awaited election results in Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Chief of Police Peter Newsham said Wednesday that he was “very pleased” that demonstrations near the White House were calm. He cited “a couple of minor incidents” in which a total of four people were arrested.
One man was arrested early in the night at 16th and K streets NW for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Two others were arrested at 16th and I streets NW following an assault incident, police said. One of those men was the subject of an open warrant and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. The other was charged with resisting arrest.
Details were not released on the additional arrest.
Police could be seen detaining one man and putting him inside a police van.
A woman and two men were stabbed blocks from the White House at about 2:25 a.m. Police said the victims identified themselves as members of a far-right group that supports President Donald Trump, the Proud Boys. Police said they were unable to verify the victims' affiliations.
The victims claimed their attackers were part of Black Lives Matter protests. News4 was not immediately able to confirm those claims. No arrests were made.
Near the Fourth District police station, away from downtown, a man was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, destruction of property and crossing a police line. For days, activists there have protested police's involvement in the death of 20-year-old Karon Hylton-Brown.
One group of protesters in all black wearing helmets and gas masks while carrying black umbrellas to conceal their faces marched from Thomas Circle to 14th and K streets at about 11 p.m.
Someone set off fireworks at Black Lives Matter Plaza a short time later.
Groups of demonstrators left Black Lives Matter Plaza and marched through D.C.’s streets overnight. By 5 a.m. Wednesday, the plaza was quiet.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Black Lives Matter Plaza protested, danced and prayed as they awaited the election results.
Many in the crowds that began to gather Tuesday afternoon held signs protesting President Donald Trump or showing support for former Vice President Joe Biden. Dozens of posters and cardboard signs were plastered on the fence bordering Lafayette Square.
After nightfall, protesters held up large black banners that read from above "Trump Lies All The Time" and "Remove Trump" in white print.
The demonstrations seemed like a lively block party at times, with go-go music blaring and people dancing.
But by about 9 p.m., the atmosphere shifted as people began to turn their attention to the election results.
The diverse group of demonstrators included Christians praying for peace and supporters of both Trump and Biden. Some of those supporters told News4 they were anxious to learn who will win the election.
Photos: Election Night Demonstration on Black Lives Matter Plaza
News4's Cory Smith reported there was a small scuffle on Black Lives Matter Plaza about 5:15 p.m.
All D.C. police officers will be on duty and on the streets in the coming days as the city braces for the possibility of civil unrest around the election.
"It's unclear if we'll have a result even tonight, maybe not until later in the week. So, it's a little, you know, we're not really sure what's going to happen," Newsham said Tuesday afternoon.
"We invite anybody that wants to come down here [to] exercise their first amendment right. We welcome them to come enjoy themselves and we just ask them not to be involved in any violent behavior," the chief said.
Businesses downtown boarded up their windows and storefronts, and federal officials increased security at the White House.
Crews put up a "non-scalable" fence outside the White House Monday night.
The D.C. National Guard received a request from the U.S. Park Police to be on standby this week. That request was later either withdrawn or denied and the D.C. National Guard was told to stand down for now, spokesman Sr. Master Sgt. Craig Clapper said.
“That could change at any time,” he said. “Last week we were mentally preparing but over the weekend we were told to stand down.”
The D.C. government did not request National Guard resources.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said police are ready. She said she welcomes peaceful protests and warned against them turning violent.
At least six groups have requested permits for protests in the District over the next few days, D.C. officials said.
The mayor said she is not considering a curfew for D.C. but would do so if necessary.