D.C. streets tense however calm as ballots are counted – The Washington Post

4November 2020


By Marissa J. Lang, Emily Davies and Michael E. Ruane,

Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post

Holding signs that stated “individuals have spoken” and “we are the majority,” tired protesters went back to the D.C. streets Wednesday as the nation waited to discover the results of the governmental election.

Amidst crisp, warm weather and an eerie-feeling calm across the city, marchers set off from Union Station just before midday to decry those that organizers stated were a threat to the nation's democracy.

The crowd was small and fatigued after a late night of demonstrations in the District that kept lots of demonstrators out into the early hours of the morning.

Marchers were urged to sing and chant as they walked, bring flags, homemade signs and a papier-mâché rendering of a billionaire with a money bag for a head holding a check constructed to Fox News.

“We are here to combat what we understand is an attack on democracy,” stated organizer Aura Angélica with the youth-led Sunrise Movement, an activist group focused on climate modification and social justice.

The march made its very first stop outside the D.C. head office of Fox News, where protesters shouted, “Trump lies, democracy passes away!”

The midday presentation, organized by the Shutdown DC coalition, brought together activists from more than 10 groups with various missions.

But Ashley Dorelus, a Black filmmaker from New York, balked at the makeup of the crowd, which had few Black protesters.

She said she was irritated that at a march about democracy, no reference of race was made– even as Trump's calls to halt vote counts would disproportionately impact the votes of Black Americans.

“This feels performative to me,” she said. “They're not here for Black people, for democracy.”

[_http” href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/white-house-protests-election-night/2020/11/03/b80b336a-1d4e-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html”>Crowd gathers outside White House as tallies are counted across the country]

Outside the Republican National Committee, protesters dealt with a line of authorities and began to chant, “Count every vote! Every vote counts!”

Demonstrators stated the GOP has actually been complicit with the president's campaign of misinformation– about the continuous pandemic and about the validity of the presidential election.

“They profit from his exploitation of the American individuals,” Frank Santos Fritz, an organizer with D.C.'s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, told the group. “Trump has never ever won the popular vote. We keep in mind that. And now he's attempting to rig the electoral [college]”

Organizers told the crowd the election would not be chosen “for weeks, maybe months,” which activists should stay alert to “safeguard our democracy.”

As they chanted at the structure, several demonstrators shook maracas and drummed the tops of overturned containers.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, compared the Republican effort to call into question the election leads to a number of contested states to actions by authoritarian leaders in other nations.

“Hypocrites,” the crowd shouted.

“The cheating has actually already taken place,” Benjamin said. “The cheating happened with gerrymandering. The unfaithful happened with the long lines to vote.”

At McPherson Square, a quiet crowd gathered Wednesday afternoon to require a full vote count in the race for the presidency. Toddlers hoisted handmade signs above their heads, a group of veterans stood in quiet demonstration, and community activists provided speeches from a phase.

Every so often, artists carried out beneath a Jumbotron that read “COUNT THE VOTES,” transforming the crowd of about 100 into a sort of democratic park show.

“It's inadequate to invite people into democracy to kick them out of it,” Tyson Hobson-Powell, founder and director of policy at Concerned Citizens DC, informed the crowd. He later on advised the group to continue setting in motion for justice after Trump leaves workplace, echoing the cautious optimism of much of the event's left-leaning speakers. “Racism did not begin with Donald Trump, and it will not end with his departure,” he said.

Steven Kiernan, a 33-year-old Marine veteran, took a trip from Eugene, Ore., to ensure every vote is counted in this year's presidential election, which he called the most important of his life time.

“We all served to safeguard the Constitution and rights of all Americans,” he stated, surrounded by members of the liberal veterans group Common Defense.

For Jaya Blaser, the gathering at McPherson Square was a trip. The 7-year-old from Arlington stayed up past her bedtime on Election Day, filling in a color-coded map as the election results came in.

“Donald Trump is not a great president and is saying that he will not count every vote,” she said, snacking on a clementine and crackers. “That's not good.”

As the afternoon extended into night, the rally turned into a watch celebration with CNN blasting on the screen.

Jahi Chikwendiu

The Washington Post

Lots of close-by structures remained boarded-up in anticipation of unrest that failed to emerge. Hundreds collected late Tuesday and early Wednesday for a carnivallike watch celebration and demonstration that were at times tense but mainly serene.

By early morning, international news outlets were establishing for live chance ats neighboring Black Lives Matter Plaza. The protesters were gone, and pathways were cluttered with deserted helmets and cages of spray paint near a black fence covered with protest signs.

The cordoned-off White House was barely noticeable, a truth that disappointed passersby who bent and craned to take images over the signs that bore messages such as “loser” and “end fascism.”

Just before 9 a.m., a male on a bike slowed as he passed the fence surrounding the White House. He took in the scene, read the messages and observed the put together reporters.

Prior to beginning again, he laughed, then bellowed:

“Good early morning, Donald!”

Mela, 19, and Amara, 21, who decreased to offer their surnames, concerned the plaza to “see the consequences” of a night of demonstration and nail-biting stress and anxiety.

They had been at the watch party at McPherson Square, bundled versus the cold, nervously seeing the outcomes roll in till about 3 a.m.

[_http” href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/11/04/trump-biden-election-live-updates/”>Presidential race hangs in balance as votes are counted in crucial states]

Mela, who voted this year in her first election in Virginia, stated she has actually been “especially engaged in politics. Way more than I ever have been in the past.”

She postured for a photo in front of the wall of demonstration art as Amara framed her with the Washington Monument in the distance.

She had helped to reassemble the display screen after conservative activists took apart indications that had been up given that the summertime. She said she wished to memorialize the moment, and the demonstrations, “just in case they're not here for a lot longer.”

Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post

Fredrick Kunkle added to this report.

Read more:

© The Washington Post Company

A coalition of social justice and ecological activists march near Union Station in D.C. on Nov. 4 to Fox News head office. The protesters required a reasonable election and the counting of all votes.

As the sun rises in the nation's capital after election night, a thin group of mostly media members stand by or report from Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Demonstrators hold indications at Union Station the early morning after election night.

Source: washingtonpost.com

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