Hundreds of marchers peacefully rallied in downtown Chicago to demand that every vote counts as Trump calls to stop counting ballots
- At least 1,000 marchers lit up downtown
Chicagoon Wednesday night for a rally calling to ensure every voteis counted and that President Donald Trumphonors the results from the 2020 election.
- The Defend the Election Rally, organized by more than 35 Chicago-area grassroots organizations, was part of national protests that took place across the country demanding that the voting results be protected.
- On Friday, just before 9 a.m. ET, Insider and Decision Desk HQ called the race for President-elect Joe Biden. Major networks and newspapers called the race for
Bidenon Saturday morning.
At least 1,000 marchers lit up downtown Chicago on Wednesday night for a rally calling to ensure every vote is counted and that President Donald Trump honors the results from the 2020 election.
The Defend the Election Rally, organized by more than 35 Chicago-area grassroots organizations, was part of national protests that took place across the country demanding that the voting results be protected.
Rally organizers also showed up to demand the peaceful transition of power from Trump. As of Thursday morning, ballots were still being counted in key states. Trump falsely claimed victory in the presidential election on Wednesday, claiming there is "major fraud on our nation," without providing evidence for his assertion. His campaign also filed lawsuits in multiple states to stop counting until "meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process" is granted, the campaign said in a statement.
On Thursday, Trump called for election officials to stop counting votes, as Biden had a slight lead with 253 electoral votes as the country awaited results from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, and more.
Also Wednesday and Thursday night, Trump supporters were out in Michigan and Arizona, two ballot-counting sites, chanting both "count those votes" and "stop the count."
On Friday, just before 9 a.m. ET, Insider and Decision Desk HQ called the race for President-elect Joe Biden. Major networks and newspapers called the race for Biden on Saturday morning.
Shortly before Wednesday's Chicago rally started around 5 p.m. local time, news broke that Biden won Michigan, sending a wave of hope through the large crowd that carried the march into the downtown streets until it wrapped up shortly before 7 p.m. local time.
Local photographer Yasin Muhammad felt it was his civic duty to attend the rally and said it was an opportunity to be courageous and voice his expression against the Trump administration with like-minded people. It was extra special because it was on his birthday and he was able to vote in the general election for the first time, the newly 21-year-old said.
"I want to spread positivity in the world and the way to do that is through creative freedom and voicing our struggles as concerned citizens," Muhammad said. "Nothing will ever get done if we don't voice our concerns — that's the difference between a democracy and a fascist government."
Niko Eastwind, a member of the Revolution Club Chicago and Refuse Fascism groups that co-organized the rally, said it was important to get people into the streets to show upset over Trump prematurely calling the election when critical ballots still needed to be counted. He also attended the rally to stand up against the GOP's voter suppression tactics, particularly toward Black and Brown voters in battleground states.
During a pandemic that Trump has repeatedly downplayed — even after catching coronavirus — organizers of the rally said it's critical that every vote counts to make sure essential workers receive better healthcare, paid sick days, and fair wages.
Erica Bland-Durosinmi, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, said the over 90,000 healthcare workers represented by the union who voted want to make sure their votes are counted.
In a statement about the rally, SEIU HII President Greg Kelley said Trump's victory claim is an insult to essential workers who risk their lives to keep Americans safe during the pandemic.
"Essential workers voted for good union jobs to protect our families and a minimum wage of at least $15," Kelley said. "We voted to end police violence in Black communities and for investments in proven solutions to reimagine public safety. We voted to stop needless deaths and to protect frontline workers like us with protective gear, paid sick leave, and a clear, rational plan to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic."
The Sunrise Movement, a national youth-led organization advocating for better climate change policies, also co-organized the rally to make it clear that the youth are watching the election results and will not be silenced, said Andrea Cañizares-Fernandez, actions team coordinator at Sunrise Movement's Chicago chapter.
"We showed up along with the people of Chicago to make it clear that the youth of this country are watching and demand that every vote be counted for this election," Cañizares-Fernandez said. "We are not going to sit back and watch Trump lie, bully, and cheat his way into re-election."
The rally started in Daley Plaza, then marched through downtown and passed the Trump Tower, where several marchers threw their middle finger up in the air. Flanked by police officers on both sides, bike marshals and rally organizers led marchers down the streets, many of who held signs and wore t-shirts with messages such as "Every vote counts," "Trump/Pence out now" and "#NoMore." The chanting crowd received support from passing bus drivers and car drivers. At one point, a man without a mask walking on the sidewalk yelled at the marchers to go home.
While the Chicago event remained peaceful albeit small tense moments between police and protesters after the official voter rally ended, other cities that saw post-election protests reported arrests and vandalism in Seattle, Portland, Denver, and Minneapolis, according to CBS News.
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