CA Protesters Take To Streets Amid Election Chaos: Live Updates

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  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States

CALIFORNIA — Civil unrest in California erupted into violence in both Sacramento and Los Angeles on Wednesday as thousands gathered to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to multiple reports from law enforcement agencies and videos circulating on social media.

It started Wednesday morning in Washington D.C., where Congress had convened to certify the results and confirm President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory.

But an otherwise-routine procedure was unexpectedly interrupted by a raucous mob of Donald Trump supporters as they fought their way past law enforcement and stormed the U.S. Capitol.

As Congress members were ushered into lockdown and others were evacuated, a woman — reportedly a resident of California— died when a gunshot was fired in the building. As reported by the Associated Press, police said the woman who was killed was part of a crowd that was breaking down the doors to a barricaded room where armed officers stood on the other side. She was shot in the chest by Capitol Police and taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Multiple news outlets identified the woman fatally shot as Ashli Babbit, a San Diego resident. Babbit was a U.S. Air Force veteran who owned a business with her husband and was described as a strong supporter of President Trump, San Diego news station KUSI reported.

DC Police confirmed Ashli Babbitt, 35, died of a gunshot wound. Contrary to news reports, police listed her city of residence as Huntington, Maryland.

Police in the nation's capital said three other people died from medical emergencies during the long protest on and around the Capitol grounds, the AP reported.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom decried the siege of Capitol Hill, and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo asserted that Trump should be put on trial for sedition.

"Peaceful protest is an important mechanism of our democracy, but what we are witnessing in our nation's Capitol building is reprehensible and an outright assault to our democracy and democratic institutions," Newsom said.

Protests were reported in various parts of California, drawing crowds in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Huntington Beach.

In the days leading up to the series of protests, members of California's Republican Party urged those who couldn't make it to Capitol Hill to attend a protest at the California Capitol, dubbed the "Wild Protest MAGA March."

As early as 9 a.m. protesters began to gather in Sacramento and, by noon, several violent altercations had broken out as hundreds gathered to protest the election results. A large police presence amassed to monitor the situation as some were arrested in the morning for reportedly carrying pepper spray.

"Some physical altercations between two groups of demonstrators have been reported," Sacramento police tweeted. "Officers remain in the area and are attempting to keep the groups separate."

The protest was planned to last until 4 p.m. in Sacramento, according to the Fresno County Republican Party.

Meanwhile in downtown Los Angeles, what began as a peaceful protest also exploded into a flurry of bloodied skirmishes between Trump picketers and counterprotestors. Police in riot gear quickly lined the downtown streets as at least four were taken into custody, according to the L.A. Police Department.

The "Stop the Steal" protest began on Spring Street as other vehicles circled the area. But as the morning's peaceful demonstration turned into disorder, an unlawful assembly was declared by LAPD near City Hall around 12:30 p.m.

"We do support peaceful protests," sheriff's Deputy Trina Schrader told the City News Service. "However, we urge everyone to keep in mind we are still in the middle of the COVID-19 concerns, and we urge everyone to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing."

Protesters reportedly chanted "do your job" in front of the Los Angeles Police Department, according to videos posted on social media.

Videos posted to Twitter showed smoke billowing through the streets of Los Angeles as a tumultuous scene unfolded.

A counterdemonstrator yells after getting maced in the face by far-right demonstrators outside of City Hall on Wednesday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A counterdemonstrator yells after getting maced in the face by far-right demonstrators outside of City Hall on Wednesday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


The anti-Trump group Refuse Fascism held a protest of its own in downtown Los Angeles. At 12:30 p.m., the group unfurled a banner over the Harbor (110) Freeway at Seventh Street, proclaiming, "Trump Lost! Fascists Get Out!"

"Trump lost the election. What they're attempting to do as we speak, is a coup," Refuse Fascism said.

In Huntington Beach, fewer than 50 people gathered in the fog to wave American flags and Trump signs. The demonstration appeared to taper off peacefully. No reports of violence surfaced anywhere in Orange County, according to the Huntington Beach Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Newport Beach Police. Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr told Patch, "I'm proud of our residents today."

"This is a dark day for America," LA Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted Wednesday. "The assaults on the integrity of our elections and the safety of the U.S. Capitol are wrong — defying our Constitution, our core decency, and our common humanity."

Around 1 p.m., as a series of street melees disrupted the corridors of Sacramento and Los Angeles, President Donald Trump posted a video to apparently urge protesters to go home and heed orders from law enforcement.

"We have to have peace, we have to have law and order," he said. "We don't want anybody hurt."

In the same video, he continued to make baseless claims that the election was fraudulently stolen from him.

As a result, the president received an outpouring of declarations from politicians stating that he encouraged the violent seizure of the Capitol building after delivering a speech around noon to the booming crowd.

Many who attended protests in California and in D.C. looked to the fateful day as their last chance to take a stand against what they believe was a stolen election.

Shortly before Trump posted his afternoon Twitter video, Biden condemned the protests, calling them "an assault of the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people's business."

The president-elect said he was shocked and saddened to see the country "come to such a dark moment," and called the protesters lawless extremists who are not representative of the country. "This is not dissent," he said. "It's disorder, it's chaos, it borders on sedition, and it must end now."

Throughout the afternoon, California leaders who were inside the Capitol's chambers took to social media to declare their safety.

"I am currently sheltering in place in the Capitol at a secure location," said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Napa). "I will give more updates. This is a very sad day for democracy."

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), who represents much of Los Angeles, confirmed she was in a safe location.

"The President of the United States is inciting a coup. We will not be intimidated. We will not be deterred," she tweeted.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) called it "a tragic day in American history as we see Trump-supporting domestic terrorists surround and breach the Capitol building. My staff and I are secured and safe thanks to the courageous actions of the Capitol Police. Praying for the safety of everybody and the very soul of our nation."

Police shove two counterdemonstrators during a pro-Trump rally outside of police headquarters Wednesday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Police shove two counterdemonstrators during a pro-Trump rally outside of police headquarters Wednesday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


Trump has shown no signs of admitting defeat, pushing the idea that voter fraud led to his loss of the election to Biden, though his multiple legal challenges in various states have been rejected due to lack of evidence.

Officials in states across the country, including the Republican elected officials in the battleground state of Georgia, have flatly denied any impropriety in the election.

"Any elected official who does not denounce this full-frontal assault on our democracy is assisting a coup attempt on the Capitol," Democratic California Congressman Eric Swalwell tweeted Wednesday morning.

California Congressman and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted: "Thank you to Capitol Police for protecting the People's House. Protesters have a Constitutionally-protected right to be heard, but I urge them to remain peaceful."

The Republican party in California also reacted, "The violent protests taking place today are unacceptable," chairwoman Jessica Milan Patterson wrote on Twitter. "As the party of law and order, I am deeply saddened and disappointed by these actions and condemn the violence."


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The City News Service, Bay City News and Patch editors Kenan Draughorne, Courtney Teague, Gideon Rubin, Ashley Ludwig, Kat Schuster and Maggie Fusek contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Across California Patch

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