As a violent mob descended on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., protests in other states also cropped up.
Groups of Donald Trump supporters raged at state capitols across the nation on Wednesday, following a violent insurrection on the U.S. Capitol to object to Congress certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
Pro-Trump extremists stormed the nation's Capitol Wednesday afternoon, at the behest of Trump — who has continued his deluge of false claims that the election was stolen since losing in November — breaking windows and forcing their way into the building.
Earlier in the day, Trump lied to attendees at a "Save America" rally near the National Mall that he had in fact won against Biden. He egged on his supporters, saying, "I'll be with you" as they marched on the Capitol building, claiming, "You'll never take back our country with weakness."
Trump supporters elsewhere in the nation, who similarly bought into those debunked lies, were spurred on by his words, engaging in violence at state capitols in places like California, and Oregon, among others.
At California's Capitol building in Sacramento, 11 people were arrested for allegedly carrying illegal pepper spray, the city's police department told a local ABC affiliate. "Physical altercations" between Trump supporters and counterprotesters led to a report of one person being assaulted, police said.
A high presence of Sacramento police remained near the Capitol building.
Outside of the state capitol in Salem, Oregon, far-right, Trump-supporting groups fought violently with police and counterprotesters, with one video capturing the far-right white supremacist group the Proud Boys involved in the melee. Oregon State Police declared the crowd an unlawful assembly.
"That was the president. We're not going home here; we're just getting started," said one of the pro-Trump leaders, after Trump's Twitter message to the extremists at the U.S. Capitol was played aloud, according to CNN.
In front of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, an estimated 400 pro-Trump protesters chanted "USA, USA, USA!" the Salt Lake Tribune reported, noting that a Trump supporter pepper-sprayed one of the paper's photographers at the rally.
In Washington state, protesters chanted "recount, recount, recount!" outside the state's Capitol building. While the demonstration appeared mostly nonviolent, members of the far-right group Patriot Prayer carried guns and shouted lies about election fraud and "criminals" running the nation, while others called for violence against government officials and the media.
In Olympia, at the governor's mansion, protesters waving Trump flags broke through gates to reach grounds outside the building, KIRO-TV reported.
"We pay for this mansion, so yeah, we're taking over," one man said over a bullhorn.
KIRO-TV reported that Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee was quickly moved to a safe location.
In New Mexico, the Statehouse was evacuated after hundreds of Trump supporters rode in cars, trucks, and on horseback, honking horns, and falsely declaring Trump to be the rightful winner of the 2020 election, the Associated Press reported.
In Atlanta, there were no reports of outright violence, where pro-Trump demonstrators gathered on Wednesday, waving Trump flags outside the Capitol building. However Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was swiftly escorted out amid the chaos.
Raffensperger and other Georgia officials have faced threats of violence in the past several weeks after refusing repeatedly to overturn the state's election results for Trump.
And in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a crowd of pro-Trump extremists reportedly laughed and cheered as they found out about the insurrection in Washington, D.C., according to the Star Tribune.
"Now you know why Trump wanted us there!" one local GOP official in the crowd said. "My God you guys, we are going to fight, we are going to go down, there's going to be casualties. I'll be the first casualty, I do not care."
Said another man, "This is 1776 … the time for talk is over. Be on the right side of history because we are about to make it."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.