Philadelphia, Minneapolis among US cities seeing post-election unrest

People loot a store during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on Monday in New York.New York's mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday extended a night-time curfew for the city until June 7 following outbreaks of violence and looting during anti-racism protests gripping America. (AFP/Bryan R. Smith). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

WASHINGTON D.C., Nov 5, 2020, Fox News. With the U.S. presidential election still undecided Wednesday, protests broke out in cities across the U.S., with many groups urging that every vote be counted in the race between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Fox News reported.

Many of the protests were being led by Black Lives Matter and Shutdown DC, which conducted training for months leading up to Election Day.

Cities included in the effort included Washington, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, Ore. Other citiies seeing protests included Philadelphia and Minneapolis.

In Philadelphia, two different protests converged into one, according to reports.

The Count Every Vote movement, which aims to ensure all votes are counted in the presidential election, combined with protesters calling for the termination of police officers involved in the Oct. 26 shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man who police claimed came at officers with a knife.

The two Philadelphia groups gathered in front of Independence Hall, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, before heading to City Hall and to Mayor Jim Kenney’s home in the Old City neighborhood, according to the newspaper.

The Wallace protesters were seen on video chanting “Stop killing Black people!” outside the mayor’s office.

The protest came on the same day that city officials released police body-cam footage from the oficers’ interaction with Wallace, as well as 911 recordings. The release was done in cooperation with members of Wallace’s family, according to video posted by FOX 29 of Philadelphia.

Authorities also identified the officers involved in the incident as Officer Sean Matarazzo, 25, and Officer Thomas Munz, 26, the report said.

Minneapolis traffic blocked

In Minneapolis, a large Count Every Vote crowd blocked traffic on Interstate 94 at Riverside Avenue, according to video shared by FOX 9 Minneapolis’ Karen Scullin.

State Patrol troopers and Minneapolis police said they were arresting protesters.

“Walking on the freeway is illegal and very dangerous for pedestrians and motorists,” the State Patrol wrote. “We respect the right of everyone to express themselves under the First Amendment, but the freeway is not a place to do that.”

Scullin noted that the crowd, estimated to be made up of more than 500 people, had been on I-94 for at least an hour.

“Police say they’re all under arrest,” Scullin wrote. “Unclear what’s going to happen to the 500+ people.

The voting protests in Philadelphia and Minneapolis were the latest efforts in a national movement urging election workers to keep counting ballots, many of which were mailed.

On Wednesday night the race in Pennsylvania between Trump and Biden remained too close to call. Trump was leading Biden, 51.4% to 47.6%, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump declared victory in multiple key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, even though official results remained unclear. The president asserted that continuing to count ballots in states such as Pennsylvania was an attempt to disenfranchise people who voted for him.

As for Minnesota, the Fox News Decision Desk called the race for Biden, who was leading the state with 52.6% of the vote compared to Trump’s 45.4%, according to estimates.

Slashings in D.C.

In Washington, demonstrators were set to gather around midday Wednesday either at Union Station or at Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House to “keep showing up and keep supporting each other until the people swear in the new government.”

“The polls have closed and record numbers of voters have cast their ballots in this election. Now it’s time to make sure that every single vote is counted, so we can preserve the pillars of democracy and build the future we want to live in,” the organization said on its website.

Police later said four people were arrested in D.C. between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning in instances related to overnight unrest. Investigators were looking for three suspects who reportedly slashed at least four people, including a Proud Boys leader.

Businesses were boarded up in the nation’s capital prior to Election Day, and a fence was installed around the White House perimeter.

‘Pressure campaign’

The group Choose Democracy went a step further than street protests to assemble an online guide to starting a “pressure campaign” by gathering neighbors to call local leaders and force them “to publicly commit to ensuring that all votes are counted & the results are respected.”

The coalition Protect the Vote, made up of over 130 groups, including Choose Democracy, Color of Change PAC, Planned Parenthood, and even Republicans for the Rule of Law, has tentatively called for marches in various cities across the country from Nov. 4 until at least Nov. 7 if “Trump takes action to undermine the results,” according to its website.

“Right now we are focused on ensuring that every vote is counted and Black votes aren’t erased. We will use every tactic possible to put pressure on election officials to count every vote,” Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, the racial justice organization, said in a statement to Fox News.

“We can’t assume that Donald Trump will respect the peaceful transfer of power,” Sean Eldridge, the founder and president of Stand Up America, which started organizing the coalition in June, said in a statement last week. If Trump tries to interfere in the counting of ballots, or pressures state or local officials to say ballots should no longer be counted, Eldridge said “then we would mobilize.”

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Stacey Abrams, the failed Georgia governor candidate turned activist, was scheduled to participate.

As previously reported by Fox News, recordings purportedly showing Zoom training sessions led by the Sunrise Movement revealed more sinister plans after Election Day should Biden not be declared the victor, including telling demonstrators to break into and occupy government buildings in D.C. and federal workers to slow down bureaucratic processes.

The FBI neither confirmed nor denied an investigation into the recordings to Fox News.

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