Civil Unrest Fears Grow as Protests Hit Vote-Counting Battleground States

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Unrest across the country appears to be on the rise as protesters hold more demonstrations over ongoing vote counts in several key battleground states that will decide the outcome of a heated presidential race.

The Biden and Trump campaigns have diverged on their approach to ballot counting, with President Trump filing lawsuits to stop counting ballots and former Vice President Joe Biden emphasizing the importance of having all votes counted.

The dueling rhetoric has spilled out into the streets of various cities, where Biden supporters can be heard chanting “count the votes,” while Trump supporters call to “stop the count.”

Anti-Trump protesters took to the streets in New York, Minneapolis and other cities on Wednesday. Some demonstrators in Minneapolis were reportedly arrested after some participants tried to block a freeway.

That same day, Trump supporters in Phoenix protested outside an election center conducting a count of crucial mail-in ballots that could help steer the presidency toward Biden. The crowd, which was reportedly around 150 strong, claimed without evidence that the official overseeing Maricopa County’s elections was failing to count ballots for Trump.

The Associated Press and Fox News have projected Biden as the winner in Arizona, though several networks have not followed suit.

If Trump loses in Arizona, Biden will have an additional path to winning the White House, even if he doesn’t win Pennsylvania. If Biden wins Arizona and Nevada, where votes are still being counted, he will be the projected winner with 270 electoral votes, the magic number needed to secure the presidency.

Signs of unrest also unfolded at a poll center in downtown Detroit when people were denied entry into the TCF Convention Center, which was reportedly already at capacity. Protesters who had gathered outside the area where ballots were being counted shouted “Let us in” and “Stop the count” while they pounded on the doors and windows, according to reports.

Protesters had reportedly pounded on the windows earlier in the day when security officials tried to drape the windows after ballot counters said they felt intimidated by demonstrators trying to take pictures or videotape them.

The president’s allies also got involved. Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, attended a “Stop the Steal” rally in Harrisburg, Pa., where Trump holds a narrow lead over Biden.

In Portland, Ore., where protesters rallied peacefully against Trump’s efforts to stop vote counts elsewhere, a separate group of demonstrators marched through downtown, smashing shop windows and facing off with law enforcement officials and National Guard troops as they protested against police brutality and racial injustice, according to reports.

In Florida, one poll worker described his experience in a Sun Sentinel opinion piece, writing, “I signed up knowing I would interact with a thousand or more voters each day, but I didn’t sign up to be coughed at and spit upon by mask-refusers.”

Sources: New York Post, The Hill, and Fox News; Photo: the hill.com

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