independent– Violence broke out on the streets of Washington DC as thousands of Donald Trump supporters marched on the capital to protest against the election of Joe Biden.
At least 11 people were arrested during the pro-Trump march with fistfights breaking out between members of far-right groups, including the Proud Boys, and counter-protestors across the city.
Thousands of Trump supporters gathered on Freedom Plaza and heard various speakers including pardoned National Security Advisor Michael Flynn spout mistruths about the legitimacy of Mr Biden’s presidential win.
It came just a day after the Supreme Court rejected Texas’ attempt to overturn the election results in four key battleground states and secured Biden’s victory beyond dispute – confirming what local, state, and federal officials of both parties, including US attorney general William Barr, have said since November 3.
The clashes began before the marches even started, as five were arrested Friday night on charges including disorderly conduct, inciting violence, and assault after a brawl.
But the violence didn’t stop President Trump from backing the demonstration.
‘Wow! Thousands of people forming in Washington (D.C.) for Stop the Steal. Didn’t know about this, but I’ll be seeing them! #MAGA’, he tweeted on Saturday morning.
Various groups took part in organizing Saturday’s demonstrations, including groups like Women for American First, the Million Maga March, which organized a similar event in Washington in November, and the Proud Boys.
Videos of confrontations between groups of rival protestors were shared on social media with instances of people in pro-Trump attire attacking bystanders.
One bystander was seen pulling a knife after arguing with Trump supporters, according to USA TODAY.
At least six people were arrested during the day, and as night fell over the capitol, Proud Boys and counter-protestors were in fistfights across downtown DC, according to the Washington Post, which led to at least one ambulance being called.
Police tried to intervene in various ways, including forming defense lines between Proud Boys and protestors, and spraying chemical irritants, but small groups of protestors reportedly broke away and continued to brawl in the street.
Speakers at the rallies on Saturday ranged from fringe figures like Sebastian Gorka to Flynn, president Trump’s former national security adviser who was recently pardoned after lying to federal authorities about his contacts with Russian officials.
Videos of his presence at the rally also went viral, though that was because his sister appeared to forget the lyrics to “God Bless America” as she sang to the crowd.