WASHINGTON — Mayhem erupted in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night, hours after two pro-Trump rallies ended. Groups of Proud Boys and Antifa activists clashed under cover of darkness, with police repeatedly forcing them apart amid reports of brawls and stabbings.
It wasn’t immediately clear which groups the attackers and victims were affiliated with, the report said.
As of 9 p.m. ET, 23 people had been arrested, including 10 charged with misdemeanor assault, six with assaulting a police officer and four will rioting, FOX 5 of Washington reported. One suspect was carrying an illegal stun gun, Fox News reported.
BREAKING: DC Mayor’s office releases preliminary info on today’s protest activities: at least 23 arrests related to protests, including: 6 Assaults on a Police Officer, 10 simple assaults, 4 Riotous Acts. At least 8 taken to hospital inc 2 police officers
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) December 13, 2020
At least two D.C. police officers were hospitalized with moderate injuries, according to reports.
Images and videos on social media showed demonstrators exchanging barrages of fireworks, and police intervening on several downtown streets.
— eric thomas (@justericthomas) December 13, 2020
“Moments after I took this video, fireworks exploded at the front entrance of the Hyatt Hotel,” Washington Post reporter Marissa Lang tweeted. “Proud Boys and anti-fascist [Antifa] protesters had been starting to brawl at the entrance.”
(Photo via Fox News)
She also said police pepper-sprayed a group of protesters a few blocks away and later reported that at least two people had been stabbed, citing fire officials.
Several unverified videos on Twitter posted during the protests from the area appeared to show people bleeding being treated by police.
An online post by Washington’s WJLA-TV included video of one police officer being helped away by colleagues after being injured.
The officer appeared to have tears in her eyes.
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) December 13, 2020
Police separated the groups, shut down traffic in parts of downtown D.C. and sealed off Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, Fox reported.
I’m at BLM Plaza, where a contingent of anti-Trump protesters with shields and umbrellas are preparing to march. They’re heading to McPherson Sq to meet another group that was recently rushed by a group of Proud Boys. I could hear fireworks shoot off from blocks away. #DCprotests pic.twitter.com/CWOMMsQwiV
— Marissa J. Lang (@Marissa_Jae) December 12, 2020
At one point, a group of Proud Boys allegedly ducked through an alleyway to sidestep police and confront Antifa, according to the Post Millennial’s Matthew Miller.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
PB find a literal back-ally to slip through the police line and clash with Antifa. pic.twitter.com/KbBgqXvp7A
— Matthew Miller (@mattmiller757) December 13, 2020
Subsequent videos captured, the sounds of stun guns going off, fireworks and demonstrators coughing after reportedly inhaling pepper spray. Despite aggressive and graphic language between both groups of protesters and counterprotesters, police appeared to quickly intervene and keep them apart in numerous videos.
Antifa and PB briefly clash on K st. Police break them up. pic.twitter.com/Agq2gN5YjV
— Matthew Miller (@mattmiller757) December 13, 2020
Earlier Saturday, President Trump‘s backers descended on Washington to support the president, who continues to contest the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Wiith Trump flags and hats, and a few face masks, they gathered at Freedom Plaza near the White House chanting “Four More Years” and “Stop the Steal.”
Around midday, Trump flew over the crowd as Marine One carried him from the White House for his trip to the Army-Navy football game at West Point, N.Y., according to The Associated Press.
“Wow!” the president tweeted before leaving the White House. “Thousands of people forming in Washington (D.C.) for Stop the Steal. Didn’t know about this, but I’ll be seeing them! #MAGA.”
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
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2020
Trump aide Dan Scavino tweeted an aerial picture with a message to the crowd. “Thank you, Patriots.”
THANK YOU, PATRIOTSpic.twitter.com/cczbTXBSN4
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) December 12, 2020
“When people ask me…on a scale of 1 to 10, who’s going to be the next president of the United States? I say: 10, Donald J. Trump … without hesitation.”
Trump last month granted a pardon to Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contact with a Russian ambassador, but later claimed innocence.
“The fraud that is being perpetrated on the United States of America through this previous election is outrageous,” Flynn told the crowd. “It’s outrageous. We will not accept it.”
The presidential inauguration is Jan. 20.
Trump supporters made clear they will continue to fight back regardless of the media and court rulings, and will not accept Biden as president.Meanwhile, the “Refuse Fascism” anti-Trump group scheduled a counter-protest in Black Lives Matter Plaza at noon, with the message: “Trump: You Lost. Get the Hell Out!”
Trump has repeatedly said he beat Joe Biden, and claims there was widespread voter fraud. But states have stood by their results and courts have repeatedly rejected Trump’s legal claims that Biden’s victory should be tossed out.