The seditious insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday — a refusal to accept a peaceful transfer of power — was mirrored in at least 21 states around the country, although none reached that level of mayhem. VOA reported that most were maskless “and some carried guns in places like Oklahoma, Georgia, Arizona and Washington state.”
News reports have used the no-thought-required shorthand of pro- and anti-Trump protesters to label groups. These labels are not accurate; these are anti-democracy (objecting to peaceful transfer of power) and pro-democracy (supporting peaceful transfer of power) groups. The first group is associated with Trump and his lies about the election. However, labeling them “pro-Trump” reduces these actions to partisan politics. The truth is that their actions are anti-democratic.
Getting a full picture of what happened across the country on Wednesday is critical; there are calls for violence across the country starting Sunday 17 January 2021.
Indeed, the final point in Twitter's permanent suspension Trump was because:
"Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and *state capitol buildings* on January 17, 2021. https://t.co/iMaMBGpBiq
— Charlotte-Anne Lucas (@CharlotteAnne) January 10, 2021
Jump to: Arizona | California | Colorado | Georgia | Hawaii | Kansas | Michigan | Minnesota | Nevada | New Mexico | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | South Carolina | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin | Wyoming
In his lies about election results (shorthand, “stop the steal”*), soon-to-be-ex-president Donald Trump targeted six states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Senatorial and Representative sycophants echoed Trump’s propaganda in challenging Electoral College votes from those state using a circular argument: my constituents think there is fraud so we need to investigate. And oh by the way, Trump seeded the doubt which no court in the nation has upheld. They are culpable for the sedition and insurrection on 06 January 2021.
Disgruntled voters have been sold a pack of lies by Trump, his sycophants, and the right-wing media ecosystem. You want to protest an election? See how Women March participants did it in 2017. Study the tactics employed by Stacey Abrams.
At the Arizona Capitol in downtown Phoenix, about 1,000 people objected to certifying Joe Biden’s election as president at a “Stop the Steal” protest. Their anti-democracy protest lasted about 10 hours; the “Arizona Department of Public Safety said it had enhanced security procedures at the state Capitol.”
One anti-democratic group brought a guillotine to the state capitol that was draped with a Trump flag. Elected politicians continued to allege that the 2020 president election had been rigged.
[A] handful of protesters at the pro-Trump rally were seen banging on the locked doors of the state Capitol building, yelling for Gov. Doug Ducey and “Freedom!” No one attempted to get inside the building, but banging on the doors cracked a window…
U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who earlier in the day objected to Arizona’s certified election results soon after the joint session of Congress commenced, on Wednesday evening tuned into the protest at the state Capitol via FaceTime video that was streamed onstage.
“I’m so proud of you for being out there, gotta love you for keeping the fight,” he told the crowd. “But regardless of what happens today, we have got to take care of this and make sure that our elections are free and transparent in Arizona.”
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb also spoke at the rally, and Arizona state Sen.-elect Wendy Rogers tweeted that she was also in attendance.
Compare state police actions in Phoenix to the measures in DC:
AZ CAPITOL: Trucks are bringing in more fencing to surround the AZ State Capitol. Dozens of protestors are still on site & more are trickling in. pic.twitter.com/Jon9f67mMJ
— Bailey Miller (@BMillerFOX10) January 7, 2021
Jake Angeli of Phoenix, a Q-Anon supporter who wore horns and fur at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, was arrested and charged on Saturday.
Pro- and anti-democracy protesters gathered and clashed at Los Angeles City Hall at about 1 p.m. Pacific time. Six were arrested: three for carrying unpermitted items while attending a public demonstration, two for failing to disperse and one for resisting/obstructing an officer.
More than 200 police officers were at the California state capitol as anti-democracy protesters gathered. Eleven were arrested for carrying pepper spray.
As in LA, there were reports of altercations between pro- and anti-democracy groups. This included the Three Percenters, a right-wing militia group, and the Proud Boys, a far-right group known for violence.
Simultaneous pro-Trump events took place nationwide Wednesday, including “Wild Protests” or “Stop The Steal” rallies in Sacramento and Los Angeles, California, where Three Percenters were in the crowd, as well as Phoenix, Arizona, Lincoln, Nebraska, Salem, Oregon and Austin, TX
— Oren Segal (@orensegal) January 7, 2021
In Colorado, the city and county ordered city agencies to close buildings after hundreds gathered in front of the Capitol building to oppose the peaceful transfer of power from Trump to Biden.
I’m at the protest at the Colorado capitol. State patrol in riot gear stationed about half a block away. Several hundred people here. Very, very few are masked. pic.twitter.com/rmweD8rEyU
— Elise Schmelzer (@EliseSchmelzer) January 6, 2021
Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger evacuated his staff when a group of about 100 anti-democracy agitators gathered outside the Capitol; some carried long guns. They repeated Trump’s propaganda and demanded “that state leaders give them what they called a ‘fair election‘.”
“Our accusations are voter fraud, illegal votes, things were not done right,” Brian Smith said.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has extended an executive order to activate the National Guard should they be needed to protect the state Capitol on Monday when the Georgia legislative session begins, VOA reported.
a group of Trump supporters & militia gathering in front of the Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta. some of them listening to President Trump's speech live on their phones. pic.twitter.com/gSsBzsVByC
— Hadi Nili (@HadiNili) January 6, 2021
In Topeka, Kansas, about 200 anti-democracy agitators held a peaceful event outside the capitol building in the morning. Speakers included former Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R). US Sen. Roger Marshall and US Representatives Ron Estes, Tracey Mann and Jake LaTurner have each gone on the record in opposition to the Electoral College vote for Biden, endorsing Trump’s anti-democratic rhetoric. The group had a permit.
Then in the afternoon, anti-democracy agitators entered the state capitol to oppose the peaceful transfer of power from Trump to Biden. “They moved around the building peacefully,” with chants of “Stop the steal” and “No more masks.”
Another example of how these overwhelmingly White protesters got kid-glove treatment:
The protesters were allowed to be carrying flags and signs, something which had been at issue in past Statehouse protests, Capitol Police said.
— Stephen Koranda (@kprkoranda) January 6, 2021
In the April, “gun-toting protesters rushed” the Michigan State Capitol subsequent to Trump’s tweeting “Liberate Michigan.”
Wednesday, a crowd of 700 to 800 people gathered outside Michigan’s capitol building to protest the transfer of power from Trump to Biden. Because the legislature was not in session, the building was closed.
Illustrating just how deeply anti-democracy agitators are vested in Trump’s propaganda, Deborah Marshall, Ann Arbor, carried a sign claiming Michigan’s election results (Biden won by 154,000 votes) are “as phony as covid #s.
There was bomb threat shortly before 7 a.m. on Thursday. Michigan State Police did not find a bomb “but later charged a 48-year-old man with making the threat.”
Amy Cooter, an expert on domestic terror groups and a lecturer at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, said it was not difficult to draw a line straight from those early rallies in Michigan to Washington — and even earlier, to Charlottesville, Va., when white supremacists marched through the streets in 2017, chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans and clashing with counter protesters. And “given the general lack of consequences” in Michigan last spring, “this becomes normalized and legitimate and made it easier to scale up” to what unfolded in Washington.
Hundreds of Trump supporters protest peacefully outside Capitol in Lansing https://t.co/ihVLdDchl1
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) January 6, 2021
Minnesota, St. Paul
The Minnesota state capitol building “still has a chain-link fence surrounding it following the death of George Floyd on 25 May 2020.”
Wednesday was marked by “several hundred people at the Capitol, some brandishing symbols representing white supremacism and the QAnon conspiracy cult.” In addition:
[C]heers rang out from demonstrators in reaction to the news that supporters of President Donald Trump had stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Hundreds of Trump supporters in Minnesota gathered at the state Capitol and the governor’s residence in St. Paul on Wednesday to protest against the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.https://t.co/NJFvxBl3LI
— MPR News (@MPRnews) January 6, 2021
Nevada, Carson City
In the Nevada state capital,
Carrying signs including “Voter fraud is treason,” a mostly maskless crowd in Carson City chanted “We want freedom” and demanded federal lawmakers take action to prevent incoming president Joe Biden from taking office.
New Mexico state police evacuated staff from the Statehouse building that also includes the governor’s office and the secretary of state’s office. Hundreds of “supporters” of Trump arrived in a vehicle caravan and on horseback. Officials estimated a group of 500 opposed to the peaceful transfer of power from Trump to Biden.
Demonstrators sang God Bless America, honked horns and wrongly announced on a megaphone that Trump was the rightful election winner — though Biden won the vote in New Mexico by a margin of roughly 11%.
As protesters swarm the US Capitol building, a couple hundred protesters have gathered outside the state Capitol building in Santa Fe pic.twitter.com/B7bqnNkaTt
— Kyle Land (@kyleoftheland) January 6, 2021
Ohio Capitol Journal reporter Jake Zuckerman reported that Trump supporters outside the Ohio state house included “members of the fascist group Proud Boys.” He also described seeing Trump flags and individuals carrying guns.
Tempers short, emotions high at Statehouse protest https://t.co/Dbjx78jGtU
— Columbus Dispatch (@DispatchAlerts) January 6, 2021
Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome.
"Oklahoma’s rally dissipated on its own after a light rain began to fall in the afternoon."https://t.co/Cd5i8Gkxx9
— Subjectively Sleepy (@Haleyjallen) January 6, 2021
“Far-right groups” fought with police and counter-demonstrators outside the Oregon Capitol in Salem on Wednesday.
“The coup is in full effect,” one speaker told the crowd. “The coup is on. It’s been on for the last four years, but it’s moving very quickly. So you guys need to be ready for it.”
Proud boys fight in front of the Capitol pic.twitter.com/0Zbb62EdWt
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) January 6, 2021
In Harrisburg, “Trump flags outnumbered U.S. flags” as a group of about 200 brainwashed voters “pleaded for Pennsylvania state lawmakers, on the first legislative session day of the year, to reverse the certified results of a presidential election they believe was stolen.” They did not have a permit to be on the Captiol steps, according to NBC.
WHP 580 conservative radio host Ken Matthew:
“We will no longer vote for people that don’t have the guts to fight for a stolen election.”
State Rep. Dawn Keefer (R) was a member of the undemocratic group and repeated “unsubstantiated claims of election fraud in Pennsylvania.”
Tuesday in Harrisburg, 100’s of angry Trump supporters rallied under my balcony on what has ALWAYS been a perfunctory day of swearing in new members.
After what happened this year in Michigan + now DC, it’s not hard to imagine how it could have gone differently.
This must stop. pic.twitter.com/PFf28K0cIf
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) January 7, 2021
South Carolina, Columbia
In South Carolina, about 200 protesters who believed that the election was “fraudulent” gather outside the Statehouse.
Trump supporters and conservative groups could also be seen at the rally. Several protesters wore QAnon shirts; others waved “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and a group of about 15 men standing together were wearing the Proud Boys’ yellow and black attire… One member of the crowd threatened a freelance photojournalist for legally taking pictures in a public place, which the photojournalist reported to police.
— Adam Mintzer (@adammintzer) January 6, 2021
Two Tennessee lawmakers held a “prayer rally” in Nashville where about 150 people listened to a broadcast of President Trump speaking at the “Stop the Steal” protest.
The lawmakers denounced Biden’s win.
“We need to be praying for the truth to be revealed,” state Sen. Mark Pody, a Republican, told the crowd in Nashville, according to The Associated Press.
Tennessee's Sens. Blackburn and Hagerty are calling for peace at the Capitol in D.C. But their objections to the results of the free and fair presidential election have fanned the flames of these protests. From @jrlind: https://t.co/ldfq9HcGH7
— Nashville Scene (@NashvilleScene) January 6, 2021
The Texas state patrol closed the Statehouse grounds to the public Wednesday after supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing evacuations. KVUE livestreamed the “Occupy The Capitol for Trump – Austin on Facebook.
According to the New York Times, the group of more than 200 carried pistols and rifles; there was at least one AR-15.
State law enforcement officers ultimately banned the protesters from the State Capitol grounds out of concern that the Texas demonstrations would turn ugly. Anyone licensed to carry guns in Texas can tote them anywhere inside the Texas Capitol by showing their permit to a Department of Public Safety trooper at the Capitol entrance.
The Department of Public Safety said in a statement: “While we do not discuss operational details, DPS will continue to adjust our operations as needed to maintain public order and address potential threats.”
Texas State Capitol right now pic.twitter.com/IzY4ZoLs27
— safa (@safathinks) January 6, 2021
Utah, Salt Lake City
Gov. Spencer Cox sent staff sent home as several hundred people gathered in Salt Lake City to “Stop the Steal.” Some carried “military-style rifles slung on their backs.”
Salt Lake Tribune photographer Rick Egan was pepper-sprayed by a demonstrator who verbally assaulted him for wearing a mask. Another protester shoved him.
— Taylor Stevens (@tstevensmedia) January 6, 2021
In Richmond, entrances to the Virginia State Capitol were blocked off but there were no “active threats.”
The Virginia State Capitol is closed until further notice in response to the demonstrations in DC. I’m told this is out of an abundance of caution and there is no active threat. pic.twitter.com/Onv3rFI1Mw
— Jackie DeFusco (@Jackie8News) January 6, 2021
Wednesday afternoon, anti-democracy protesters gained access to the grounds of the Washington state Governor’s Mansion. “The crowd, some of whom were armed, repeated baseless allegations of election fraud,” VOA reported.
“If they’re not creating violence at the moment and they’re not destroying property, we have time on our hands, and we want to try to keep it as peaceful as possible,” Washington State Patrol Sgt. Darren Wright said in a news briefing.
— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) January 6, 2021
Trump supporters circled the state Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, in cars and trucks adorned with Trump and U.S. flags for several hours Wednesday, blaring their horns.
When news broke that rioters in Washington DC broke into the Capitol Building the crowd in attendance at the rally cheered.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol put the Statehouse on lockdown as a “precautionary measure” and called the event, organized by Moses Lee Hasenauer and the Cheyenne Tea Party, “very peaceful.” Photo gallery.
“Congress must reject the Electoral College count … and if they don’t, and if our representatives don’t, we will, and that’s a promise.”
*Stop the steal
Stop the steal as a call-to-action was the brainchild of convicted felon and Trump adviser (subsequently pardoned by Trump) Roger Stone. Stone created a website with this name in 2016 “to fundraise ahead of the election.”
A Stop the Steal Facebook group was managed by a loose coalition of right wing operatives, some of whom have worked with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. The group amassed hundreds of thousands of followers in little more than a day before Facebook shut it down on November 5  — the day after it was launched.
Ben Decker, the CEO and founder of Memetica, a digital investigations consultancy: “Stop the Steal is a highly coordinated partisan political operation intent on bringing together conspiracy theorists, militias, hate groups and Trump supporters to attack the integrity of our election.”
Bannon’s group is still alive and well. Report it to Facebook, would ya? facebook.com/groups/STEALINGTHEVOTE/
Known for gnawing at complex questions like a terrier with a bone. Digital evangelist, writer, teacher. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill, wiredpen.com