EXPLAINER: Widespread Election Day unrest not materializing

November 4, 2020 GMT
A man is detained by police on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A man is detained by police on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Election Day ushered in skirmishes near the White House and relatively minor demonstrations in California and elsewhere on the West Coast, but none of the widespread unrest that some had feared in the hours after the polls began closing around the country.

Why is that? It’s hard to say.

But as the East Coast began Wednesday, the night was still young elsewhere in the United States and prolonged uncertainty, particularly in the bitter presidential race between Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, could increase odds that tensions eventually flare.


In Washington, D.C., police created a wide security perimeter around the White House, where President Donald Trump watched the election returns and hosted guests. Surrounding streets were closed to traffic and the executive mansion was ringed by anti-climb fencing.

Mostly peaceful protests overtook streets near the White House earlier this year following the killing of George Floyd, who was Black, by a Minneapolis police officer.

Hundreds of people gathered in a generally festive mood Tuesday night on a street near the White House that was recently renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza by the city’s mayor, who is Black. Police largely kept their distance despite a few skirmishes. Some arrests were reported.

In cities around the country, including in the District of Columbia, storefront businesses had boarded up their windows to guard against anticipated protests and related violence.

In Minneapolis, a few dozen people marched through the city’s Uptown neighborhood, lighting fireworks and carrying a banner that said “America is Over.”

Small demonstrations were reported in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. Seattle police advised residents in a tweet about a pair of marches moving through separate neighborhoods.