Election Day ushered in skirmishes near the White House and relatively minor demonstrations in California and elsewhere on the West Coast, but fears of widespread unrest that prompted businesses to board up windows in anticipation of riots did not materialize.
In Los Angeles, police arrested roughly 40 people near the downtown area for blocking train tracks and failing to leave the scene after authorities declared an unlawful assembly, according to the LAPD.
“Obviously we have a lot of police presence out here due to the election, we’re prepared for anything that might come about and we’re able to respond right away,” said Los Angeles Police Officer Mike Lopez.
The department earlier declared a separate unlawful assembly and dispersal order, closing off an area near downtown Los Angeles, citing a “large and unruly crowd.”
“They were running around downtown causing trouble,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Vito Palazzolo, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We gave them every opportunity to disperse and they chose to remain, so we made the decision to make arrests.”
Los Angeles police earlier on Tuesday called a “citywide tactical alert” ahead of the election, directing additional resources to ensure any potential Election Day incidents do not spiral out of control.
Over 1,000 people protesting President Donald Trump converged about a block away from the White House on Tuesday, while hundreds more marched through parts of downtown Washington, blocking traffic and setting off fireworks.
Scattered protests also took place from Seattle to New York City, but across the United States there were no signs of serious violence or widespread unrest in the hours immediately after the polls closed.
While the demonstrations in Washington were largely peaceful, at one point, people taking part in a march stabbed the tires of a parked police van to flatten them.
Hundreds of people marched in anti-Trump demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, with several arrested.
Videos on social media showed people setting an American flag on fire in Portland in front of the Justice Center and U.S. Courthouse, while photos shared on Twitter showed the entrance to a building defaced with graffiti.
On Monday, in Multnomah County near Portland, the sheriff’s office said two people were arrested after an unlawful gathering was declared due to criminal activity, with authorities noting broken windows at a university and Starbucks and a foiled arson attempt.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown had put the National Guard on standby, since Portland has seen almost nightly protests since the death of George Floyd in police custody in May.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on Twitter that there would be “no tolerance for any violence, intimidation or criminal destruction,” and that people should be “safe while using their voice to advocate for their perspective.”
In Seattle, police said they arrested several people Tuesday night, including someone who put nails on a road and another who drove over a barricade and into a bike lane. No one was injured.
Hundreds of businesses in cities across the United States boarded up their doors and windows ahead of the election, fearing the vote could lead to the sort of violence that broke out after Floyd’s death.
“Some people would like to cause mayhem and trouble,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said earlier in the day. She said she had never seen so many businesses being boarded up. “That all saddens me.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.