In line with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED), the whole variety of demonstrations, together with these towards COVID-19 pandemic well being measures, declined this week. Nearly all of protests had been Cease the Steal occasions, although each the numbers of the rallies and the numbers of individuals declined sharply.
Nevertheless, the information collected by ACLED additionally confirmed a major improve in participation by paramilitary teams:
Among the many persevering with pro-Trump demonstrations, militia teams just like the Proud Boys and IIIpercenters are more and more seen. For instance, the IIIpercenters participated in a ‘Cease the Steal’ rally in Georgia, whereas the Proud Boys organized related rallies in Illinois, California, and Oregon. ACLED knowledge point out that militia teams had been current in additional than 1 / 4 of all reported ‘Cease the Steal’ demonstrations final week.
These identical components performed a major position within the violence that broke out in Olympia when a pair hundred pro-Trump thugs, together with Proud Boys and “III Percenters,” none of them from town, got here to protest Trump’s large-margin loss on the poll field in Washington State. A a lot smaller group of antifascists turned out to oppose them and wound up engaged in quite a few brawls.
Essentially the most vital of those occurred when a small group of antifascists tried to burn an American flag and had been assaulted by pro-Trump protesters who beat them with flagpoles. Movies of that assault had been extensively circulated and applauded on social media by such right-wing figures as Dinesh d’Souza and Andy Ngo, who portrayed it as justifiable violence in retaliation for the flag burning.
Many of the pro-Trump protesters arrived armed and brandished the weapons across the metropolis’s downtown for a lot of the day. At one level, as a brawl broke out, certainly one of them drew out his handgun and pointed it at antifascists, ultimately firing as soon as. The particular person he was aiming at reportedly was solely grazed by the bullet and didn’t search medical consideration or file a grievance with police, who issued a press release asking the sufferer to work with them.
Police arrested a 27-year-old man named Christopher Guenzler, who was charged with first-degree assault, a criminal offense that carries a minimal 20-year sentence in Washington. Guenzler’s Facebook page is generally stuffed with photographs of him driving his pickup truck adorned with a Accomplice flag.
Police mentioned the biggest brawl concerned about 200 folks armed with weapons, bats, bottles, rocks, and chemical sprays. It broke out close to The United Church buildings of Olympia, the pastor of which is the Rev. Tammy Leiter Stampfli, who was shoved to the bottom in the course of the altercation.
Leiter Stampfli posted about it on Fb: “Yesterday I used to be knocked down within the church car parking zone by (a) Trump supporter,” she wrote. “This was after being screamed at for being a pastor of ‘such a Church.’ I had stopped with one other member to make use of the lavatory. There had been a full on brawl between antifa and Trump supporters. Folks had been beating one another, spraying chemical compounds in every others eyes, yelling, screaming obscenities.”
The Michigan protest outdoors Benson’s dwelling equally featured threatening habits towards perceived enemies. “As my four-year-old son and I had been ending up adorning the home for Christmas on Saturday evening, and he was about to take a seat down and watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, dozens of armed people stood outdoors my dwelling shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns at nighttime of evening,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson mentioned in a statement.
In line with MLive, the 20 to 30 protesters had been brazenly carrying weapons. Individuals posted livestream videos of the rally displaying protesters demanding election audits and chanting, “Cease the steal.”
“They shouted baseless conspiracy theories concerning the election, and in movies uploaded to social media, a minimum of one particular person may very well be heard shouting ‘you’re murderers’ inside earshot of her youngster’s bed room,” Michigan Lawyer Common Dana Nessel and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy mentioned in a joint statement on Sunday. “This mob-like habits is an affront to primary morality and decency.”
The rally was a risk towards not solely Benson and her household but additionally Michigan voters, Benson mentioned in her assertion:
The calls for made outdoors my dwelling had been unambiguous, loud and threatening. They focused me in my position as Michigan’s Chief Election Officer. However the threats of these gathered weren’t really geared toward me—or another elected officers on this state. They had been aimed on the voters.
There have been related Cease the Steal protests additionally that includes armed individuals and threatening rhetoric across the nation this week:
- In Georgia, the place rallygoers had been urged to not take part within the Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections within the state as a solution to protest the state’s Republican management for having affirmed Trump’s loss within the election.
- In Wisconsin, the place a smallish crowd gathered in Appleton to demand a recount for the state. “I believe it’s fairly evident that there’s a official concern [that] folks have about what’s going on,” mentioned Matt Albert, the Outagamie County Republican Celebration chairman. “Right now isn’t about believing whether or not it’s true or not. Right now is about believing it may very well be true, and if it may very well be true, why don’t you determine if it’s true, and that’s essential for each side.”
- In Pennsylvania, the place a gathering of a number of dozen pro-Trump protesters on the state Capitol in Harrisburg demanded a recount of their state as properly. “You aren’t gonna steal this election from us!” one protester shouted. A speaker on the rally proclaimed: “It’s gotta be America First, or it’s going to be America Final!”
- In Colorado, a equally small gathering of protesters demanded a recount in these swing states outdoors the Capitol in Denver. “Our objective was to indicate solidarity with the states the place the fraud is rampant,” a Republican organizer informed KDVR-TV.