World

Trump supporters protest outside Arizona vote centre, some are armed

Rally organised after rumours that votes for US president were not being counted

PHOENIX: A crowd of Donald Trump supporters, some armed with rifles and handguns, gathered outside an election centre in Arizona on Wednesday night after unsubstantiated rumours that votes for the Republican president were deliberately not being counted.

Chanting "Stop the steal!", and "Count my vote", the mostly unmasked protesters stood in front of the Maricopa County Elections Department in Phoenix, as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden held a razor-thin lead in the critical battleground state.

Some news outlets have called Arizona for Mr Biden, but Mr Trump's campaign said it is still in play.

A victory for Mr Biden in Arizona would give the Democrat 11 electoral votes, a major boost in his bid to win the White House, while severely narrowing Mr Trump's path to re-election in a state he won in 2016.

Mr Chris Michael, 40, from Gilbert, Arizona, said he came to make sure all votes are counted. He said he wants assurances that the counting was done "ethically and legally".

Rumours spread on Facebook Tuesday night that some Maricopa votes were not being counted because voters used Sharpie pens to mark their ballots. Local election officials insisted that was not true.

In Portland, the police declared riots, arrested 11 people and seized fireworks, hammers and a rifle, as Oregon Governor Kate Brown activated the National Guard in response to protests on the night after voting.

In New York, the police said they had made about 50 arrests in protests that spread in the city late on Wednesday.

Demonstrations, mostly small and peaceful, were held in cities across the US by supporters of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Four arrests were made in Denver as protesters clashed with the police.

Arrests were also made during demonstrations in Minneapolis after protesters blocked traffic, the police said.

Activists also staged rallies in Atlanta, Detroit and Oakland demanding that vote counts proceed unimpeded.

Local partners of Protect The Results - a coalition of more than 165 grassroots organisations, advocacy groups and labour unions - have organised more than 100 events planned across the country between Wednesday and tomorrow. - REUTERS

WORLD