Two days before the electoral college is set to make President-elect Joe Biden’s return to the White House official, a rally in Washington D.C. on Saturday featuring thousands of maskless rallygoers who won’t accept that President Trump lost grew increasingly violent, with at least four people stabbed at a gathering point for the Proud Boys.
According to the Washington Post, the falsehood-filled spectacle on Saturday began with rallygoers roaming from the Capitol to the Mall and back again. They cheered on for the newly pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn, marched alongside conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and reveled of over a flyover from what appeared to be Marine One.
At nightfall, however, the scene escalated with the stabbing of at least four people near Harry’s Bar at 11th and F streets NW — a gathering point for the extremist group known as the Proud Boys, which Trump refused to condemn during a presidential debate in September by telling them to “stand back and stand by.”
D.C. fire spokesman Doug Buchanan said the victims were hospitalized and possibly suffered life-threatening injuries. It has not been determined which groups the attackers or the injured may have affiliations with.
According to the Post, the violence escalated after rallygoers sparred with counterprotesters near Harry’s Bar, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Franklin Square, and other spots in the downtown area.
“Both sides of the aisle hate you now. Congratulations,” a Proud Boy shouted at officers in riot gear who tried to block their course while marching through downtown in military-like rows, according to the Post.
The Post reported that punching, kicking and wrestling amongst agitators ensued as officers swarmed the scene and pulled instigators apart. Chemical irritants were figred and lines were formed between the sides. The amount of injuries is unclear.
According to the Post, soon after a fight was tamped down, another started in a different part of town.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told protesters: “We’re doing the best we can,” according to the Post.
Newsham told the Post that police units were deployed across downtown to separate groups, but that smaller segments of people who broke from larger gatherings appeared “intent on conflict.”
As of 9 p.m. Saturday, D.C. police reported the arrests of 23 people. Ten were charged with misdemeanor assaults, six with assaulting police officers and four with rioting. Police said one person had an illegal Taser.
Police also reported that two officers were hospitalized with moderate injuries from clashes at 16th and K streets NW. Police said eight people — including the four stabbing victims and the two officers — were injured.