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Trump Supporters, Counterprotesters Clash At D.C. Rally Contesting Biden's Victory

Supporters of President Trump cheer as his motorcade drives past a rally in downtown Washington, D.C. to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election.
Supporters of President Trump cheer as his motorcade drives past a rally in downtown Washington, D.C. to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election.

Updated at 1:27 a.m. ET on Sunday

Thousands of President Trump's most fervent supporters were out in Washington, D.C., on Saturday for a day of rallying that echoed the false assertion that the presidential election was marked by fraud.

One week after Joe Biden's presidential victory brought about spontaneous celebrations in the nation's capital, a crowd that included the group Women for America First, right-wing activists and conspiracy theorists gathered in the city's downtown near the White House.

Members of the Proud Boys, a Western-chauvinistic movement designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were also seen out on the streets of Washington.

The Proud Boys pray before the march as supporters of President Donald Trump rally at Freedom Plaza and the Supreme Court.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
The Proud Boys pray before the march as supporters of President Trump rally at Freedom Plaza and the Supreme Court.

Supporters of President Trump rally at the 'Million MAGA March' to challenge election results.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
Supporters of President Trump rally at the Million MAGA March to challenge election results.

On Friday, the National Park Service issued a permit for 10,000 people to attend the march, requested by Women for America First.
/ Tyrone Turner/WAMU
On Friday, the National Park Service issued a permit, requested by Women for America First, for 10,000 people to attend the march.

A rally and a march to insist that Trump rightfully won a second term were planned for the day. The events went by several names, including the Million MAGA March, the March for Trump and Stop the Steal DC.

By late Saturday morning, hundreds had assembled in Freedom Plaza near the White House.

The demonstrations unfolded peacefully for most of the day, but counterprotesters clashed with the president's supporters and violence erupted as night fell. Counterprotesters were seen overturning tables of vendors selling Trump merchandise, as well as stealing Trump hats and flags and setting them on fire, according to The Washington Post.

A protestor gets her eyes flushed after clashes broke out on Black Lives Matter Plaza.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
A protester gets her eyes flushed after clashes broke out on Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Demonstrators raise a flag during the march.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
Demonstrators raise a flag during the march.

Trump supporters rally as opposing views clash during the march.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
Trump supporters rally as opposing views clash during the march.

Two officers were injured and at least 20 people were arrested, according to the D.C. Mayor's Office. Of those arrests, four were for firearm violations, two for simple assault, one for an assault on a police officer and two for disorderly conduct, D.C. police told member station WAMU. Seven guns were recovered. It was not immediately clear if the guns belonged to Trump supporters or counterprotesters.

Scattered clashes turned violent around 8 p.m., when Trump supporters armed with batons and counterprotesters collided in a brawl five blocks from the White House, The Post reported, before police broke up the groups. A city fire official said a young man was transported to the hospital for serious injuries after he was stabbed in the back during the fight, according to the newspaper.

A Trump supporters at the Maga March in Washington, D.C. November 14.
/ Dee Dwyer for NPR
Trump supporters at the Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14.

Later in the afternoon, protesters moved onto the Supreme Court for a rally, chanting 'four more years' and 'USA!'
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
Later in the afternoon, protesters moved to the Supreme Court for a rally, chanting "Four more years!" and "USA!"

Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump gather at Freedom Plaza.
/ Eman Mohammed for NPR
Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump gather at Freedom Plaza.

Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump gather at Freedom Plaza to march to the Supreme Court.
/ Eman Mohammed for NPR
Thousands of Trump supporters gather at Freedom Plaza to march to the Supreme Court.

A Trump supporter holds her sign before she marches.
/ Dee Dwyer for NPR
A Trump supporter holds her sign before she marches.

Videos from earlier in the day showed attendees waving American flags and Trump 2020 flags. Few could be seen wearing masks, even as the U.S. on Friday announced a new daily record of 184,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.

At one point, the crowd was greeted by Trump himself, who rode past demonstrators in his motorcade shortly after 10 a.m. Trump, who has refused to concede the election to Biden, waved to supporters, who held out signs reading "Best prez ever" and "Stop the steal."

Trump had teased a possible appearance in a tweet on Friday, saying that it was "heartwarming" to see the support and that "I may even try to stop by and say hello."

Supporters argue with counter protesters behind the police line.
/ Dee Dwyer for NPR
Trump Supporters argue with counterprotesters behind the police line.

A Trump supporter carries a flag in Washington, D.C.
/ Tyrone Turner/WAMU
Trump supporters brought campaign flags but not many masks to the Washington, D.C., demonstrations on Saturday.

One week after Joe Biden's presidential victory brought about spontaneous celebrations in the nation's capital, a crowd that included the group Women for America First, right-wing activists and conspiracy theorists gathered in the city's downtown near the White House.
/ Eman Mohammed for NPR
One week after Joe Biden's presidential victory brought about spontaneous celebrations in Washington, D.C., a crowd that included the group Women for America First, right-wing activists and conspiracy theorists gathered in the city's downtown near the White House.

Supporters came from far and wide, with many reportedly documenting their trips to Saturday's events. Luis Huerta told member station WAMU that he and his family had driven without stopping from Midland-Odessa, Texas, for the rallies.

"It's about time our voices were heard and about time we stop giving ground," Huerta said while holding a "Texans for Trump" sign.

Later in the afternoon, protesters moved to the Supreme Court for a rally, chanting "Four more years!" and "USA!" Among speakers was the far-right media personality and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

The events were mostly peaceful throughout the day Saturday.
/ Eman Mohammed for NPR
The events were mostly peaceful throughout the day Saturday.

Hundreds of Trump supporters march toward the U.S. Capitol.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
Trump supporters hit the streets down the road from the U.S. Capitol.

Marchers claim Trump was the true winner of the recent presidential election.
/ Eman Mohammed for NPR
Marchers claim Trump was the true winner of the recent presidential election.

Police and authorities were monitoring the protests
/ Eman Mohammed for NPR
Police and authorities were monitoring the protests

Tammy Summers, who traveled to Washington from Missouri, said she was there to show her support for Trump as he continues to contest the election results.

"We're here to tell President Trump that we totally support him," Summers said. "He should never give up the fight and never give in."

Summers also questioned findings that concluded that there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

"First, they were saying there was no evidence of fraud. Now they're saying there's no widespread evidence of fraud. I'm sorry, one incident of fraud against our election system is too many," she said.

A marcher shows her support for President Trump.
/ Dee Dwyer for NPR
A marcher shows her support for Trump.

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally in Washington, D.C.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
One week after people celebrating Trump's defeat filled the streets of Washington, demonstrators who deny his loss took their place.

The demonstrations unfolded peacefully for most of the day.
/ Eman Mohammed for NPR
The demonstrations unfolded peacefully for most of the day.

Election officials — both Democratic and Republican — across the U.S. have thoroughly debunked claims of fraud and malfeasance in the 2020 presidential election.

They were joined on Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security, which in a statement concluded, "There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised." The statement, which was put out by agencies within the department responsible for election integrity, called the Nov. 3 election " the most secure in American history."

Planned counterprotests also took place in the city.

The group Refuse Fascism DC posted a video of its demonstration starting in Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Trump supporters and counterprotesters clashed at the Supreme Court.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
Trump supporters and counterprotesters clashed at the Supreme Court.

Demonstrators gather as counterprotestors arrive.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
Demonstrators gather as counterprotesters arrive.

Alex Jones of InfoWars and supporters of President Donald Trump rally at Freedom Plaza and the Supreme Court.
/ Carol Guzy for NPR
Far-right media personality and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, of the website InfoWars, and Trump supporters rally in Washington, D.C.

At the Supreme Court, police separated Trump supporters from a group of anti-fascist and anti-Trump protesters, according to video posted to Twitter. After several hours, counterprotesters eventually moved on from the Supreme Court demonstration.

The arrival of the "stop the steal" caravans had earlier raised concerns in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.

A handful of skirmishes broke out Friday as counterprotesters attempted to prevent the removal of signs on fencing around the White House.

On Saturday morning, video posted by local activists showed what appeared to be a small group of rallygoers ripping down anti-racism and anti-police-brutality artwork in Black Lives Matter Plaza. That section of the city was renamed during massive racial justice protests over the summer.

A counter protester at the Maga March ask Police Officers who formed a line between counter protesters and Trump Supporters ask the Police "Why are you protecting them" referring to the Trump Supporters.
/ Dee Dwyer for NPR
A counterprotester asks police officers who formed a line between counterprotesters and Trump supporters, "Why are you protecting them?" — referring to the Trump supporters.

A counter protester has a debate with a Trump supporter. She asks him to leave as he walked through the crowd of counter protesters.
/ Dee Dwyer for NPR
A counterprotester has a debate with a Trump supporter. She asks him to leave as he walks through the crowd of counterprotesters.

Fears that attendees would bring guns — as was the case during anti-lockdown protests in several states in recent months — were also high.

On Saturday, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine tweeted out a reminder about local gun laws, which prohibit openly carrying a firearm and restrict where permitted conceal-carry weapons are allowed.

"No firearms are allowed around the White House, the National Mall, the Tidal Basin or the US Capitol – permit or no permit," Racine tweeted.

Washington, D.C.'s chief of police offered a similar warning.

Ahead of the demonstrations, police in Washington announced road closures and parking restrictions.

NPR's Hannah Allam, Tom Bowman and member station WAMU contributed to this story.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Trump supporters raise their flags at the MAGA March.
/ Dee Dwyer for NPR
Trump supporters raise their flags at the Million MAGA March.