About 1,000 protesters demonstrated against Donald Trump outside the White House last night, giving a fitting framework to the election.
Trump should have gone outside and thanked them. Without the screaming, frothing mob of “mostly peaceful” protesters, he probably wouldn’t be as close as he is to winning re-election this morning.
The mob may not have played a huge role in the campaign, but they were never far from the voter’s consciousness. They certainly contributed to a climate of fear and loathing in America that may have been worth millions of votes to Trump
Across the country, the protesters began what will probably be a long vigil as the election drama gets strung out for days and perhaps weeks.
The demonstrations in Washington were largely peaceful, with people shouting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “If we don’t get no justice, they don’t get no peace!”
Groups of teenagers danced in the street as onlookers cheered. Large banners, including one reading “Trump lies all the time,” were unfurled.
At one point, the marchers stabbed the tires of a parked police van to flatten them.
But the night was not entirely “mostly peaceful.” Police ended up arresting two men who happened to be black — much to the mob’s chagrin.
Demonstrators squared off with officers on Black Lives Matter Plaza Northwest, near to the White House, after the men were detained outside the Labourers’ International Union building.
It was not clear why they were being held.
Officers on bikes formed a barrier between the men and the crowd as protesters tried to force themselves through.
Chants of “f*** the police” and “no justice, no peace” broke out while demonstrators called on police to release the men.
Some protestors kicked police bicycles while others called for the crowd to not allow them to take away the two detainees. Officers escorted the detained men out through the barrier of bikes.
Elsewhere, city and state officials stood by as protesters had their usual free run of the city.
“This is what democracy looks like,” protesters chanted in Portland, where organizers said the demonstration would be peaceful and that regardless of the presidential election result, they would continue protesting in support of racial justice. The sheriff’s office said some protesters were openly carrying guns.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown had put the National Guard on standby, since Portland has seen almost nightly protests since the death of George Floyd under a Minneapolis police officer’s knee in May.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on Twitter that there would be “no tolerance for any violence, intimidation or criminal destruction,” and that people should be “safe while using their voice to advocate for their perspective.”
If that’s what “democracy looks like,” I don’t want any.
It’s not a question of preventing people from demonstrating. But the “peaceful protesters” have already shown they have no interest in peaceful anything. They see the path to power is through violence and they will continue until someone sits on them and makes them stop.