Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone so I got some tea and this involves a stabbing that occured during pro Trump demonstrations.
Thousands of rallygoers who refuse to accept the results of the election turned in downtown Washington D.C into a spectacle Saturday, two days before the electoral college will make the president’s loss official. In smaller numbers than the gathering last month, they roamed from the Capitol to the Mall and back again, seeking inspiration from speakers who railed against the Supreme Court, Fox News and President elect Joe Biden. The crowds cheered for recently pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn, marching with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and stood in awe of a flyover from what appeared to be Marine One.
At night the scene became violent with at least four people were stabbed near Harry’s Bar at 11th and F streets NW, a gathering point for the Proud Boys, a male chauvinist organization with ties to white nationalism.
The victims were hospitalized and suffered possibly life threatening injuries; according to D.C. fire spokesman Doug Buchanan said. It was not clear with which groups the attackers or the injured might have been affiliated. The violence escalated after an evening of faceoffs with counterprotesters that took place near Harry’s, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Franklin Square, and other spots around downtown. Officers in riot gear successfully kept the two sides apart at first, even as the groups splintered and roamed. In helmets and bulletproof vests, Proud Boys marched through downtown in militarylike rows, shouting “move out” and “1776!” They became increasingly angry as they wove through streets and alleys, only to find police continuously blocking their course with lines of bikes.
The agitators determined to find trouble were successful, and posturing quickly turned into punching, kicking and wrestling.
Officers swarmed the area, pulling the instigators apart, firing chemical irritants and forming lines between the sides. At Harry’s Bar, an ambulance arrived, but the extent of injuries was unknown. Each time a fight was de escalated, another soon began in a different part of town. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham made a brief appearance in the chaos, telling protesters: “We’re doing the best we can.”
D.C. police said that as of 9 p.m., 23 people were arrested including 10 who were charged with misdemeanor assaults, six with assaulting police officers and four with rioting. Police said one person had an illegal Taser.
Two officers were hospitalized with moderate injuries suffered during clashes at 16th and K streets NW, police said. In all, police said eight people, including the four stabbing victims and the two officers were injured. The scuffles seemed to continue late into the night, as the black and yellow clad Proud Boys knocked back beers, whiskey and White Claws. Some stole a Black Lives Matter banner, paraded it down M Street NW, then stomped on it.
The group received recognition from Trump himself at a presidential debate in September, when he told them to “stand back and stand by.”
As the Proud Boys appeared at rallies earlier in the day Saturday, Trump cheered on all of the supporters who showed up to falsely claim that the election was stolen from him, tweeting “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.”
The majority White crowd ranged from gray haired men and women in red hats to children in wagons, one of whom chanted “100 more years!”
The D.C. police did not enforce mask rules or issue fines to those who ignored social distancing guidelines, even as the region faces an unprecedented spike in coronavirus cases. Dozens of D.C. police officers have tested positive in the weeks since the last pro Trump rally in November. As of Friday, 94 remained in quarantine. Police have declined to draw a direct link between demonstrations and the spike in infections among officers.
D.C. residents have expressed concern that the influx and increase of maskless protesters puts the entire city at risk, especially workers in restaurants and hotels. Activists flooded the inboxes of city officials, asking them to shut down businesses that allow people to congregate without masks. They called hotels to ask that they refuse to host those planning to attend Saturday’s rallies, with little success.
Half dozen Proud Boys members marched through the streets, chanting, “all lives matter!” They were cheered on by other members of the group who joined them at 11th and E streets NW, flashing the three fingered white supremacist salute. Moments later, the crowd turned and converged on a corner, shoving and jostling as the chant rose to a fever pitch. Men pushed each other as they tried to film what was happening in the center of the chaos. More than 100 D.C. police officers swarmed the street. Police with canisters of chemical spray rushed into the fray, pushing people aside and separating the crowd. Two people lying on the sidewalk were transferred into ambulances. But then an hour later, more than 150 demonstrators were still there, chanting and drinking in the rain. The president was refusing to concede the election, and they were refusing to go home.