Across the United States on Wednesday, November 4, demonstrators in multiple cities took to the streets while votes from the November 3 elections continued to be carefully counted.
Plains / Midwest
“Don’t let Trump steal the election!” warned graphics shared on social media inviting protesters to a National Day of Protest for a People’s Mandate in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The mandate sought to address what organizers from the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression called a “triple pandemic” of racism, COVID-19, and economic recession.
Earlier that day, before all votes from the 2020 elections had been counted, the 45th President prematurely declared victory in at least three states. One week prior, he had also spoken of his intention to use the courts system to prevent legitimate votes from being counted past November 3. Those and other recent events are warning signs that a coup may be attempted by the Trump administration.
We were streaming live — we first covered the Defend The Vote protest, which was met by the People’s Mandate march from downtown.
In addition to defending the vote in the United States, the People’s Mandate protest in Minneapolis demanded community control of the police, a halt to racist attacks on immigrants, and housing and economic relief for all in need. Health care for all was the final demand; as of November 4, more than 231,000 people have died from COVID–19 in the United States.
“Trump, Biden, No Retreat — Keep Your Ass Out In The Street!“Protesters in Minneapolis, MN on November 4, 2020
Protesters gathered in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood for the Defend The Vote peaceful march. Their numbers swelled after they were joined by more protesters from the rally downtown, and the newly-merged group streamed onto Interstate 94. There protesters were kettled by law enforcement officers and told they would all be subject to arrest, without having been given the chance to disperse.
Typical police procedure and training for crowd control calls for three dispersal orders before declaring an unlawful assembly at a protest.
In an interview as she was waiting for arrest, an anti-war activist and member of Women Against Military Madness told Unicorn Riot, “Whether it’s Trump or Biden, their foreign policy’s the same. They’re going to continue to level sanctions and invade countries and occupy countries.”
Police in Minneapolis have kettled upwards of a thousand people on the freeway, and have begun making arrests of trapped protesters. They’ve stated that everyone attending the protest is under arrest for unlawful assembly and public nuisance.https://t.co/fCBlqh6gaO— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) November 5, 2020
“We’re out here dancing because they won’t let us get off the freeway,” said a young protester. She explained that those in the streets were maintaining levels of that “same energy we created at the beginning of the summer.“
As of 10:45 p.m. CST, police announced via the long-range acoustic device (LRAD) that all protesters blocking the highway would be cited and released, rather than arrested. Captain Joe Doyer reported at 11:10 p.m. that media would be permitted to remain and document the event without arrest, if they stayed in a coordinated area. By 1:00 a.m. protesters had been cited and released in various places across downtown Minneapolis.
The day after the hotly-contested 2020 elections, small crowds of mostly-white protesters gathered to harass those counting votes in Detroit, Michigan. As some Americans demanded a premature halt to the voting counts, others amassed in the name of democracy in places like Philadelphia, demanding that every person’s vote be processed.
In Boston hundreds gathered in Roxbury, many from left-wing organization such as the Boston DSA and the Sunrise Movement. “Voting Isn’t Enough” and “Jews Against Fascism” were two of the signs carried by protesters.
The organizations had worked together to create a list of demands for social progress, which were read by speakers to those gathered. Demands included increased consultation with Indigenous tribes, getting police out of schools, an end to non-violent crime based detentions, and the need for COVID hazard pay.
Speakers have started on the stairs of the Boston Public Library, saying that while Trump trying to declare victory is a power grab that needs mass civil disobedience to respond, but Democrats haven’t been much better and they call for a new party— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) November 5, 2020
Headed towards Copley Square, protesters marched through blocks that had experienced extreme gentrification pressures. “Black people used to live here!” repeated community members in unison. On the steps of the Boston Public library, Lance Jackson talked about building Black liberation as the Boston Police watched but kept their distance.
Protests that took place across the country on November 4 were specifically demanding that the United States uphold democratic elections, but also generally demanding that the fight for social progress not waver even if Joe Biden unseats incumbent Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential election.
Unicorn Riot will be providing more information from November 4 events that took place in Minneapolis and Boston, as well as in other parts of the country. Stay tuned.
Cover image from march in Boston on November 4, 2020.