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Detroit: Dozens of angry supporters of US President Donald Trump converged on vote-counting centres in Detroit, Michigan, and Phoenix, Arizona, as returns went against him on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT) in the two key states, while thousands of anti-Trump protesters demanding a complete count of the ballots in the still-undecided election took to the streets in cities across the US.
“Stop the count!” the Trump supporters chanted in Detroit. ““Stop the Steal,” they chanted in Phoenix.
Supporters of President Donald Trump rally outside the Maricopa County Recorders Office.Credit:AP
There are reports the counting centre Maricopa County, which takes in Phoenix, has been closed because of unrest, with the results to be transmitted electronically.
The protests came as the President repeatedly insisted without evidence that there were major problems with the voting and the ballot counting, and as Republicans filed suit in multiple states, preparing to contest election results.
Oregon State Police arrest a protester in Portland after the election on Wednesday.Credit:AP
Meanwhile, from New York City to Seattle, thousands of demonstrators turned out to demand that every vote be tallied.
In downtown Portland, Oregon, which has been a scene of regular protests for months, Governor Kate Brown activated the National Guard after demonstrators engaged in what authorities said was widespread violence, including smashing windows. Protesters in Portland were demonstrating about a range of issues, including police brutality and the counting of the vote.
Richard March came to an anti-Trump demonstration in Portland despite a heart condition that makes him vulnerable to COVID-19.
“To cast doubt on this election has terrible consequences for our democracy,” he said. “I think we are a very polarised society now — and I’m worried about what’s going to come in the next days and weeks and months.”
President Donald Trump supporters rally outside the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix.Credit:AP
In New York, hundreds of people paraded past boarded-up luxury stores on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, and in Chicago demonstrators marched through downtown and along a street across the river from Trump Tower.
Similar protests — sometimes about the election, sometimes about racial inequality — took place in at least a half-dozen cities, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and San Diego.
The confrontation in Detroit, Michigan, started shortly before The Associated Press declared that Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden had won the state.
Video shot by local media showed angry people gathered outside the TCF Centre and inside the lobby, with police officers lined up to keep them from entering the vote-counting area. They chanted, "Stop the count!” and “Stop the vote!”
New York City Police officers extinguish a fire at a protest after the election.Credit:Bloomberg
Earlier, the Republican campaign filed suit in a bid to halt the count, demanding Michigan's Democratic secretary of state allow in more inspectors. Trump has repeatedly insisted without evidence that there are major problems with the voting and the counting.
Michigan Attorney-General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, insisted both parties and the public had been given access to the tallying "using a robust system of checks and balances to ensure that all ballots are counted fairly and accurately".
Michigan has been on edge for months over fears of political violence. Anti-government protesters openly carried guns into the state Capitol during protests over coronavirus restrictions earlier this year, and six men were arrested last month on charges of plotting to kidnap Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
On election night, scattered protests broke after voting ended, stretching from Washington in the east to Seattle in the west, but there was no widespread unrest or significant violence.
The prolonged task of counting this year's deluge of mail-in votes raised fears that the lack of clarity in the presidential race could spark unrest.
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Understand the election result and its aftermath with expert analysis from US correspondent Matthew Knott. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald‘s newsletter here, The Age‘s here, Brisbane Times‘ here and WAtoday‘s here.
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