Sporadic street clashes continued in Washington late Saturday between backers and opponents of U.S. President Donald Trump’s failed efforts to overturn the U.S. presidential election that was won by his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
Four people were taken to the hospital with stab wounds and 23 people were arrested, according to the city’s police department.
Earlier in the day, thousands of Trump’s most ardent supporters gathered, marched and chanted for the president to remain in office. The demonstration, mirrored in several U.S. states where Trump’s legal team has unsuccessfully challenged Biden victories, came two days before the U.S. Electoral College meets to formally pick the former senator and vice president as America’s 46th president.
Although the rallies had been promoted for weeks, Trump tweeted “Wow! Thousands of people forming in Washington (D.C.) for Stop the Steal. Didn’t know about this, but I’ll be seeing them! #MAGA.”
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Texas lawsuit Friday to invalidate the Nov. 3 presidential election results in four battleground states, all but ending Trump's effort to overturn the election outcome through the courts. More than 50 federal and state court rulings have upheld Biden’s victory over Trump.
The Stop the Steal rally in Washington was led by former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was recently pardoned after he twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Organizers and church groups called for supporters to show up at what they called “Jerico Marches” and prayer rallies.
"Whatever the ruling was yesterday … everybody take a deep, deep breath,” Flynn told protesters in front of the Supreme Court. “My charge to you is to go back to where you are from” and make demands, he said, without being more specific, Reuters reported.
Few of the protesters obeyed a mandate to wear masks as they marched on city streets closed to traffic by the police.
A few hundred far-right so-called Proud Boys joined the march near the Trump Hotel, according to Reuters. Later they exchanged insults with a similar number of Black Lives Matter protesters near the White House with police keeping the two sides apart.
In a brief unsigned order Friday, the Supreme Court said Texas does not have standing to sue Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, adding that the state "has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections."
The lawsuit, filed on Monday by Trump ally and Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and backed by other GOP state attorneys general and 126 Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives, asked the Supreme Court to delay the Electoral College vote and to prevent the four states from casting their electoral votes on Monday.
Biden has won 306 electoral votes — 36 more than he needs — to Trump’s 232 votes, and without a court-sanctioned delay, the presidential electors are expected to finalize Biden’s victory Monday.