Violent clashes between supporters of President Donald Trump and counterprotesters erupted in the streets of downtown Washington, D.C., Saturday night after thousands of the president's supporters rallied earlier in the day to protest election results they say are fraudulent.
One person was stabbed when a fight broke out between two large groups at 10th Street and New York Avenue NW about 8:30 p.m., a spokesperson for D.C. Fire and EMS said. Medics took the person with critical injuries to a trauma center, the spokesperson said.
Fire officials said the fight was related to the ongoing protests. Authorities have not given any information yet about a possible suspect in the stabbing.
Police arrested a total of 20 people since demonstrations began midday, and two police officers were injured, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's office said. The extent of their injuries is unclear at this time.
Police responded to numerous reports of fights between protesters downtown Saturday night.
Trump weighed in on Twitter late in the evening, blaming the violence on "Antifa Scum."
Ten of the arrests included four people arrested for firearms violations, two for simple assault, one person for assaulting a police officer, one person for "no permit" and two people for acting disorderly, the Metropolitan Police Department said. It's unclear at this time if those arrested were Trump supporters or counterprotesters.
Police recovered seven guns during the pro-Trump rally, Bowser's office said.
The march was largely peaceful during the day before turning tense at night, with multiple confrontations as small groups of Trump supporters attempted to enter the area around Black Lives Matter Plaza, about a block from the White House, where several hundred anti-Trump demonstrators had gathered.
In a pattern that kept repeating itself, those Trump supporters who approached the area were harassed, doused with water and saw their MAGA hats and pro-Trump flags snatched and burned, amid cheers. As night fell, multiple police lines kept the two sides apart.
Videos posted on social media showed some demonstrators and counterdemonstrators trading shoves, punches and slaps. A man with a bullhorn yelling “Get out of here!” was shoved and pushed to the street by a man who was then surrounded by several people and shoved and punched until he fell face first into the street. Bloody and dazed, he was picked up and walked to a police officer.
Three Trump supporters were at a restaurant at 16th and K streets NW when someone set off fireworks in their direction, News4's Shomari Stone reports. Video shows people covering their ears and jumping as the fireworks exploded right above them.
At one point, a group dressed in all black and carrying black umbrellas began approaching a group of Trump supporters who were standing outside the Capitol Hilton Hotel on 16th Street NW, Stone reports. Police then got between the Trump demonstrators and counter protesters and moved the counter protesters back.
Some streets downtown remained closed as demonstrations continue.
Speakers at the rally earlier in the day asserted, without providing evidence, that there was fraud in the 2020 election. Election officials in several states have said the election was secure.
Congresswoman-elect from Georgia Marjorie Taylor Green, who garnered attention this week when refusing to wear a mask during her orientation on Capitol Hill, derided the recount of the presidential vote happening in her home state.
Then, she called for the crowd to march to the Supreme Court while speakers blared the Village People song "YMCA," which became a favorite at Trump rallies leading up to the election.
“I just want to keep up his spirits and let him know we support him,” one loyalist, Anthony Whittaker of Winchester, Virginia, said from outside the Supreme Court, where a few thousand assembled after a march along Pennsylvania Avenue from Freedom Plaza, near the White House.
A week after Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the election, demonstrations in support of Trump took place in other cities. Fury at the prospect of a transfer of executive power showed no signs of abating, taking a cue the president's unrelenting assertion of victory in a race he actually lost.
In Photos: President Trump's Supporters Protest in DC
Many vendors and dozens of people carrying flags and wearing red Make America Great Again hats and shirts arrived early and a sea of cheering people had gathered on Freedom Plaza by the time the event kicked off at noon.
Within an hour of the event officially beginning, people were seen shoving and pushing against each other in some parts of the crowd. A D.C. police officer was seen getting in the middle of one scuffle.
One man told News4 he had been punched in the face by one of the pro-Trump rally attendees.
“Well, this is my city. I didn’t come down here to cause problems,” he said.
Closer to the stage, people listened to speakers making baseless claims of fraud in the election and promising to fight for President Trump.
Conservative activist Scott Presler said the crowd had Trump's back.
Before speakers took the stage, the presidential motorcade emerged to drive a lap around the gathering crowd. Trump had teased the appearance on social media and called the rally "heartwarming."
About a dozen pro-Trump groups, including Million MAGA March and Stop the Steal DC, planned to rally.
“I saw this thing and it was like ‘save the vote,’ ‘protect the vote’ and I just want to show my support for it. It’s important that we protect democracy,” one attendee said.
The marchers included members of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group known for street brawling with ideological opponents at political rallies.
After receiving complaints that an alleged Proud Boys member had booked an Airbnb near the rally, the company told customers that they canceled his reservation and banned him from the platform.
"Anyone affiliated with hate groups has no place on Airbnb," the company said on Twitter.