Chaos in Washington as Trump refuses to concede, Republican leader suggests secession of pro-Trump states

Published December 13, 2020
A police officer in riot gear stands guard as protesters gather near Black Lives Matter Plaza during a protest on Decr 12 in Washington, United States. — AFP
A police officer in riot gear stands guard as protesters gather near Black Lives Matter Plaza during a protest on Decr 12 in Washington, United States. — AFP
Supporters of United States President Donald Trump rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, on Dec 12, 2020, to protest the 2020 election. — AFP
Supporters of United States President Donald Trump rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, on Dec 12, 2020, to protest the 2020 election. — AFP

Several people were stabbed in the United States capital, Washington DC, on Saturday night after day-long protests by the supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump who refuses to accept the results of the Nov 3 elections.

Earlier on Saturday, the head of the Republican Party in Texas suggested forming a union of pro-Trump states to prevent President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, from taking over.

Biden won both electoral (306-232) and popular votes — by more than seven million. But Trump and other Republicans are refusing to accept the results.

Earlier in the day, thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington — marching up and down the national mall that stretches from Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol, which houses the US Congress and the Supreme Court.

Instead of going all the way to the memorial, the crowds stopped near the White House and then turned towards the Capitol, chanting and dancing all the way. The chanting was the fiercest outside the Supreme Court, which seems to have incensed Trump supporters by refusing to entertain his plea to undo the election results.

President Trump’s legal campaign has filed dozens of lawsuits, requesting courts to invalidate voting in four battlegrounds states which enabled his rival, Joe Biden, to win the election. On Friday, the US Supreme Court refused to hear the plea, dashing President Trump’s hopes of turning his electoral defeat into a legal victory.

The crowds also railed against Fox News for endorsing Biden’s win, holding placards that accused the president-elect of stealing the election.

The scene became chaotic after sunset as a group of pro and anti-Trump supporters clashed in downtown Washington. Some of the protesters used the cover of darkness to stab rivals while police tried to separate the two groups. Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators exchanging barrages of fireworks, and police intervening on several downtown streets.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department said they had treated several people with stab wounds and had arrested six for brawling. At least one police officer was also injured in the clashes. In the evening, police shut down traffic in parts of downtown Washington and sealed off Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House.

'Form a union'

Also on Saturday, Allen West, who chairs the Republican Party in Texas, suggested that “law-abiding states” should “form a Union” to show their rejection of the allegedly rigged election.

The United States is a union of 50 states. In 1869, the US Supreme Court ruled unilateral secession unconstitutional but also observed that revolution or consent of the states could lead to a successful secession.

“This decision establishes a precedent that says states can violate the US constitution and not be held accountable,” West said in a statement. “The decision will have far-reaching ramifications for the future of our constitutional republic.”

A Republican lawmaker Mo Brooks also rejected the Supreme Court judgment, saying: “Congress is the ultimate arbiter of who wins presidential contests, not the Supreme Court.

“America’s Founders didn’t want unelected, dictatorial judges making these decisions. The judiciary isn’t equipped or empowered to decide contested federal elections,” he wrote in a tweet.

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