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'We Want Trump': Thousands Pour Into Washington To Protest Electoral Vote

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Several thousand protesters cheered President Donald Trump at a rally near the White House on Wednesday ahead of Congress’ certification of the Electoral College votes.

“We will not let them silence your voices,” Trump told the protesters, who had lined up before sunrise to get a prime position to hear the president. “We will stop the steal.”

Lou Murray, a life insurance salesman from Boston, said he and many others still hoped Congress and Vice President Mike Pence would not certify the Electoral College votes.

“I hope Vice President Pence has courage today, and I hope any politician who thinks he has a future shows courage to stand up and do what’s right,” Murray said.

The protesters planned to march to the Capitol before the vote. Trump said he would be with them.

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At the Capitol, Tim Teller of West Sacramento, California, listened on his phone while Trump spoke. “I want to be able to tell my kids that I did everything I could,” he said.

The crowd gathered at the Capitol chanted, “We want Trump.”

About an hour before Trump was set to speak, there were long lines at security checkpoints near the White House. At the Lincoln Memorial, dozens of Trump supporters stood on the steps with large Trump flags.

Nirav Peterson, who flew in from Seattle to attend the rally, said there would be a groundswell of anger if Trump doesn’t serve another term and said Republicans who don’t back him should face primary challenges.

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“People are angry. This isn’t going to go away,” Peterson said. “You have a huge, huge portion of the people who aren’t going to take it anymore.”

A number of prominent Trump supporters were expected to attend the protest events, which began Tuesday with a rally at Freedom Plaza near the White House. They include Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, the recipient of a pardon by the president.

As temperatures dropped to the low 40s on Tuesday night and a steady rain swept onto the streets, hundreds of protesters remained in Freedom Plaza.

“I’m just here to support the president,” said David Wideman, a 45-year-old firefighter who traveled from Memphis, Tennessee.

“I not sure what he can do at this point, but I want to hear what he has to say,” Wideman said.

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Trump tweeted his support for the protesters: “Washington is being inundated with people who don’t want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats. Our Country has had enough, they won’t take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office.”

In a Tuesday evening tweet, Trump called on Democrats and fellow Republicans to look at the “thousands of people pouring into D.C.”

In another tweet, he warned that antifa, the umbrella term for leftist militant groups that Trump has said he wants to declare a terrorist organization, should stay out of Washington.

The rallies had local officials and law enforcement bracing for potential violence. Many businesses in downtown Washington boarded up their windows, fearful that the protest could devolve into the rioting seen in May and June in response to the death of George Floyd.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser called in the National Guard to bolster the city’s police force. “We will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents or cause destruction in our city,” she said.

Police reported 12 protest-related arrests on Tuesday and Wednesday for a variety of offenses, including weapons charges, assault on a police officer, simple assault, possessing a stun gun and other violations.

On Monday, police arrested the leader of the far-right Proud Boys group, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, 36, after he arrived in Washington before this week’s protests.

Tarrio was accused of burning a Black Lives Matter banner at a church in the city in December, police said. A judge signed an order on Tuesday banning Tarrio from entering the District of Columbia, with very limited exceptions related to his criminal case.

In addition to the National Guard, federal agents were on standby.


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