Dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump rallied in front of Los Angeles City Hall today the same time as thousands of protesters descended on Washington D.C. while Congress convened to certify the results of the presidential election.
The pro-Trump protesters gathered on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles holding flags and carrying signs reading "Stop the Steal" while other supporters circled the area in their vehicles.
At least 15 "patriotic organizations" were reportedly taking part in the demonstration. According to organizers of the protest, they were demanding "the integrity and justice of the Nov. 3 election."
While the gathering was mostly peaceful for most of the morning, a few skirmishes began erupting around midday as counter-protesters gathered nearby. Police declared an unlawful assembly, ordering the crowd to disperse. At least four people were arrested after "several fights" broke out during the demonstration.
There was no reports of anyone being seriously hurt, however, video from the scene showed at least one person left bloodied.
LAPD Officer Tony Im said four people were arrested.
Trump has repeatedly decried election results in several states, claiming without evidence, that voter fraud led to his loss in the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden. More than 60 legal challenges made by the president's legal team were rejected due to a lack of evidence and election officials in the disputed states have denied any fraud occurred in the November election.
The rally in Downtown LA comes amid a protest in Washington D.C. where Congress was meeting in a joint session to certify November's election results. Shortly after President Trump spoke to rally attendees, hundreds of people stormed the Capitol Building, forcing a lockdown of the Senate and House chambers, delaying the certification. Rioters were able to enter the building without any security screening. In response, Trump took to Twitter, asking people to avoid violence, but did not call on them to leave the Capitol.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,'' Trump wrote. “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!''
Later, Trump posted an additional video message, asking people to leave the Capitol building, even as he continued to falsely claim the election had been stolen from him.
"You have to go home now,'' he said. "We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don't want anybody hurt. ... There's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us, from you and our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special. ... Go home and go home in peace.''
Twitter affixed a warning label to Trump's video and prevented anyone from retweeting, liking or reply to, "due to a risk of violence."
The rioters who stormed the Capitol building forced several Southern California legislators to shelter in place.
“I am in a secure location,'' Rep Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, wrote on Twitter. “The president of the United States is inciting a coup. We will not be intimidated. We will not be deterred.''
Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, declined to comment beyond confirming that the congressman was safe.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, tweeted, “We are safe, and are grateful for the outpouring of concern.''
Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, described the scene on Twitter.
“Got stuck in the gallery, which is above the House Floor, for some time because people were trying to get in,'' he wrote. “Had to lay on the floor with about 30-50 of my colleagues. With gas mask in hand. But I'm safe.''
Rep. Mike Levin, D-Dana Point, said, “I am safe, sheltering in my office. Thanks to our Capitol Police for trying to get this situation under control as soon as possible. This is not who we are as Americans. We can disagree about politics without resorting to violence.''
Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, wrote on Twitter, “I am safely sheltering in place, and am grateful to the Capitol Police for their service. Violence will not prevent a transfer of power, and cannot destroy our constitutional process.''
"This is a dark day for America,'' Garcetti said in a statement posted on his Twitter account. "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.
"President Trump must condemn what has happened today, stop illegally contesting the will of the American public and support the institutions and elected leaders who comprise our Democracy,'' he said. "Our nation will withstand this horrifying moment, and we will see the peaceful transition of government this month. It cannot come too soon.
"In the meantime, I pray for the security of everyone on Capitol Hill, and I support congressional leaders and (Washington, D.C.) Mayor (Muriel) Bowser's efforts to restore order and protect our nation's Capitol and our nation's capital city.''
Photo: Getty Images