Four people were stabbed and 33 people were arrested following violent clashes between pro-Trump activists and suspected members of “Antifa” in Washington, D.C., Saturday night, following a rally for the president’s supporters.
Thousands attended the rally Saturday, according to local media, calling for a halt to certifying some states’ presidential election results pending investigations into what many believe to be widespread voter fraud efforts aimed at helping Democrat Joe Biden.
A suspected bar-room brawl between pro-Trump demonstrators and anti-Trump activists, though, which took place following the march, turned into a violent conflict between the two factions, per Fox News.
“Chaos erupted in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night,” the outlet noted, “hours after two pro-Trump rallies ended. Groups of Proud Boys and Antifa activists clashed under cover of darkness, with police repeatedly forcing them apart amid reports of brawls and stabbings.”
“At least four stabbings occurred near a bar that served as a gathering spot for the Proud Boys,” Fox noted, quoting the Washington Post. “The victims were hospitalized, possibly with life-threatening injuries, a D.C. Fire Department spokesman told the newspaper.”
The Washington Post went on to note that it was not clear which group was the aggressor. A later report from a local Fox affiliate added that, of the 33 arrests made during and after the march, most were related to assaults, many on police officers. Clashes sent at least two cops to the hospital.
“DC Mayor’s office releases preliminary info on today’s protest activities: at least 23 arrests related to protests, including: 6 Assaults on a Police Officer, 10 simple assaults, 4 Riotous Acts. At least 8 taken to hospital inc 2 police officers,” Fox 5 tweeted. Information about ten additional arrests was added later.
Both sides came prepared with ammunition, a Washington Post reporter who was on the scene noted on social media. Local media confirmed that “[t]he gatherings of mostly unmasked Trump loyalists were intended as a show of force just two days before the Electoral College meets to formally elect Biden as the 46th president.”
The two groups lobbed fireworks at each other before engaging in close-quarters combat. The police ultimately deployed pepper spray to control both sides of the altercation.
— eric thomas (@justericthomas) December 13, 2020
Further videos on social media show police treating injured demonstrators, then separating the two groups, de-escalating the violence, and eventually roping off the area near McPherson Square and “Black Lives Matter” Plaza.
“Subsequent videos captured the sounds of stun guns going off, fireworks, and demonstrators coughing after reportedly inhaling pepper spray,” Fox News reported. “Despite aggressive and graphic language between both groups of protesters and counterprotesters, police appeared to quickly intervene and keep them apart in numerous videos.”
The marches and rallies on Saturday were two of several planned for this weekend ahead of a planned vote of the Electoral College on Monday. Members of the Electoral College, who vote in their respective state capitals, are expected to declare Democrat Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Although President Donald Trump challenged presidential election results in several key states, only one case — in Wisconsin — remains undecided. That state’s supreme court met Saturday and is expected to issue a ruling on Sunday. If the Electoral College votes Monday, the president’s final recourse is a challenge in Congress.