Protesters pro-Trump – some of whom openly carry rifles and pistols – gathered outside vote counting centers in several cities across the country on Friday, responding to Unfounded allegations from President Donald Trump that Democrats are trying to steal the White House.
Election officials in several states led by Democrat Joe Biden say anger outside the door makes them fear for employee safety.
About 100 Trump supporters gathered for the third day in a row in front of the election center in Phoenix, where hundreds of workers were processing and counting votes.
“Getting the poll!”; the crowd chanted, asking Trump for another four years in office. The sheriff’s delegates kept protesters in a “free speech” area away from the building’s entrance.
Conservative activist Charlie Kirk told the crowd: “When we start checking some of these electoral votes, their fraud can actually be exposed.
In Detroit, dozens of Trump supporters have returned to the streets outside of the city’s convention center, where election officials count votes.
“Prevent theft!” the protesters chanted. Some carried signs that read “Let’s make the election fair again” and “We love Trump.” Police surrounded the roads leading to the building and closely watched the demonstrations.
Detroit’s county treasurer, Eric Sabree, said he had closed his office because of the threat. In a statement, Sabree said the decision was made “in the interest of the safety of our taxpayers and employees” and because of “reliable information” from the sheriff’s office.
In Philadelphia, two men with pistols were arrested Thursday night near the convention center, where the tally of votes could decide the race for the White House is taking place.
Police said the men, aged 42 and 61, were driving the Hummer from Virginia and not having a firearm license in Pennsylvania. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said a military-style rifle and ammunition were found inside their vehicle. The car has a window sticker for the QAnon right-wing conspiracy theories.
District attorney Larry Krasner did not say why the men came to Philadelphia but said there was no indication that they were part of an extremist group.
At Rhode Island, about 100 protesters gathered outside the state electoral board headquarters, demanding recounting in an overwhelming Democratic state, where Biden won with more than 59% of the vote. elected.
The protesters said the ballots were illegally dumped on Rhode Island, but gave no evidence. State election officials said they had no evidence of fraud.
“We ask to recount in the name of Jesus!” protest leader Kathleen Forant shouted as state police stood nearby.
AP Suman Naishadham and Astrid Galvan from Phoenix, Claudia Lauer in Philadelphia, Mike Householder in Detroit and Sudhin Thanawala in Atlanta contributed to this report.