Trump supporters – some armed with rifles – gather outside vote counting centres for protests

Donald Trump supporters – some armed with rifles and handguns – have descended on election counting centres where mail-in ballots continue to be tallied up.

In the state of Arizona, a mostly unmasked crowd chanted “stop the steal” following unsubstantiated claims that votes for the Republican president were deliberately not being counted.

US election 2020 live: Follow the latest updates

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 04: Protesters in support of President Donald Trump gather to protest the election results at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 4, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)
Image:There are six states still to declare a winner – among them, Arizona

A reported 300 protesters – some of whom were armed – rallied in front of the Maricopa County Elections Department in Phoenix on Wednesday night as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden held a razor-thin lead in the critical battleground state.

There are currently six states still to declare a winner – Arizona among them – with the president’s path to power now appearing slightly tighter.

Chris Michael, 40, from Gilbert, Arizona, said he came to the election centre to make sure all votes were counted.

The 40-year-old said he wanted assurances that the counting was done “ethically and legally”.

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Observers from both parties were inside the election centre as ballots were being counted, with it being livestreamed online throughout.

What Biden and Trump need to do to win the election

What Biden and Trump need to do to win the election

Two county officials – one Democrat and the other Republican – issued a joint statement expressing concern over misinformation spread about the integrity of the election process.

Clint Hickman, the Republican chairman of Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and Democratic supervisor Steve Gallardo said: “Everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person.

“An accurate vote takes time. This is evidence of democracy, not fraud.”

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 04: U.S. President Donald Trump supporters gather to protest the election results at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 4, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The rally was organized after yesterday's vote narrowly turned for Democrats in the presidential and senate races. (Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)
Image:One protester wanted assurances the counting was done ‘ethically and legally’

Trump supporters also showed up at counts in neighbouring Nevada. According to local media reports, about 75 people turned up in Vegas waving Trump flags and chanted “stop the steal”.

Elsewhere, in Michigan, dozens of Trump-supporting “stop the count” protesters rallied outside another election counting centre in Detroit.

A supporter of US President Donald Trump talks with protesters of different political views outside of the TCF center where ballots are being counted in downtown Detroit, Michigan on November 4, 2020. - Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden on November 4 neared the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House with several battleground states still in play, as incumbent President Donald Trump challenged the vote count. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP) (Photo by SETH HERALD
Image:Trump supporters rallied outside another counting centre in Detroit

Demonstrators vented their anger before Mr Biden was finally declared as winning the state.

Video from the count centre showed frustrated crowds outside the vote centre and inside its lobby shouting “let us in”, with police lining up to keep them from storming the counting area.

People march down Fifth Avenue during a "Count Every Vote" rally, in New York on November 4, 2020. - Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden on November 4 neared the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House with several battleground states still in play, as incumbent President Donald Trump challenged the vote count. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
Image:Counter protesters in Manhattan called for every vote to be counted

In New York City, hundreds of counter-protesters in Manhattan called for every vote to be counted. It was largely peaceful, but 20 arrests were made after a smaller group began protesting police misconduct.

Similar protests took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and San Diego.

Trump prepares for court fight - this is what he wants to do

Trump prepares for court fight – this is what he wants to do

The demonstrations come as the Trump campaign said it filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan to demand better access to locations where ballots were being processed and counted.

It also called for a temporary halt in the counting of votes in both states and asked for a recount in Wisconsin, where Mr Biden has already won.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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