Police arrested dozens of people in Seattle, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon overnight during protests demanding a tally of all votes in the US election, and smaller groups backing President Donald Trump returned to tabulation sites in closely contested states to insist counting be halted.
In Seattle, seven people were arrested. One person arrested for allegedly damaging property was taken to a hospital after “experiencing a medical episode,” police said in a statement early Thursday.
The protests came as the president insisted, without evidence, that there were major problems with voting and counting of ballots. Republicans filed suit in multiple states, preparing to contest election results.
In Minneapolis, police arrested more than 600 demonstrators who marched onto an interstate in Minneapolis Wednesday night protesting Trump’s threats to challenge the election results, as well as a variety of social injustices.
No force or chemicals were used to make the arrests for walking on a freeway and being a public nuisance, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Thursday.
In Portland, protesters smashed windows at businesses, hurled objects including fireworks at officers. Police made at least 10 arrests, according to a statement from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers seized multiple firearms, ammunition, a knife, fireworks, body armor and gas masks from people who were arrested, a sheriff’s office statement said.
One of the people who was arrested had a rifle with a magazine of ammunition, fireworks, a knife and was wearing a ballistics vest, the sheriff’s office said.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called out the National Guard to manage the unrest in Portland, which has been a scene of regular protests for months.
“It’s important to trust the process, and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis,” Brown said in a statement.
Portland protester Richard March said he came despite a heart a heart condition that makes him vulnerable to COVID-19.“To cast doubt on this election has terrible consequences for our democracy,” he said. “I think we are a very polarized society now — and I’m worried about what’s going to come in the next days and weeks and months.”
On Thursday, Brown condemned the violence.
“Indiscriminate destruction solves nothing,” she said. “These are acts of privilege.”