With the US Election result just around the corner, polls closing nationwide, and votes being tallied, the situation in the country is getting grim as thousands of protesters clashed with police officers outside the White House.
Thousands of protesters engaged in a scuffle with police officers as they walked toward Black Lives Matter Plaza, a block from the White House on Tuesday evening, preparing for demonstrations, reported The Daily Mail. An early clash reportedly broke out after the demonstrators did not comply with police orders to move a vehicle that was illegally parked in the area. The incident resulted in the arrest of a protester.
Video footage surfacing from Black Lives Matter Plaza shows tensions brimming into physical altercations as thousands of protestors gathered to demonstrate despite a heavy presence from Metropolitan police. According to several reports, BLM protesters were infuriated when a counter-demonstrator allegedly began to shout 'All lives matter, white lives matter'. One video surfacing from the incident shows the man speaking with a protester before he is punched and pushed to the ground. He later manages to break away and walk off.
Shouting also broke out in a tense stand-off between protesters and cops, forcing officers to pull back from Black Lives Matter Plaza to restore and maintain calm. At least three demonstrators have been arrested. The first was taken into custody at around 5.15 pm after protesters failed to comply with police orders to move a vehicle that was illegally parked and charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, according to NBC.
The second two arrests were made at around 9.30 pm as cops on bikes were deployed to break up a major clash. The election tension hit a new high as Shutdown DC and Black Lives Matter began staging demonstrations to "start this next phase of the election cycle in the streets". Police officers were seen escorting a truck of musical performers there. The protesters have threatened to continue the demonstrations for weeks if Trump gets re-elected in the 2020 election.
The groups have planned to stage an eight-hour event at Black Lives Matter Plaza, which will include a giant screen displaying the election results and performances by bands and DJs. The group of demonstrators had reportedly "planned for months" to launch a new wave of protests from the night of Election Day.
Trump supporters were also present at the event, but they were massively outnumbered by anti-Trump protesters. These events are being initiated despite secret service agents patrolling the area and establishing a non-scalable fence surrounding the perimeter of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Shutdown DC stated on its website that it would "not be the time we need to create disruption to stop a coup â yet" as votes would still be coming in on election night. It added, "But we'll be in a good place to respond to whatever might happen. This has been a really long and dark era so we're going to be together to process our feelings of hope, anger, fear, and exhaustion as a community," the website stated. "Regardless of the results, election-night programming will probably wrap up around midnight so we can be energized and ready to hit the streets again on the 4th."
Meanwhile, The New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) have also been preparing for potential unrest in their region as the National Guard was activated in at least 16 states. Major cities across the United States are bracing to witness potential election-linked protests and unrest, which could result in weeks of sustained demonstrations on streets if Trump is re-elected. The US president has constantly refused to comment on whether he will accept the election results if they are not in his favor.
Protesters gathering near the White House are also bracing for potential violence considering how the US president used federal law enforcement post-June, this year to clear the plaza as peaceful protesters staged demonstrations against George Floyd's killing in police custody and systemic racism in the nation. One of the organizers named Nadine Bloch has been reportedly conducting training sessions involving protesters to federal employees, seeking lessons on methods of professional civil disobedience.