PORTLAND: Oregon State Troopers block a street as they confront protesters in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday during a demonstration called by the "Black Lives Matter" movement, a day after the US Presidential Election. - AFP

NEW YORK: Thousands of Joe Biden supporters marched in New York to demand every vote in the tight presidential election be counted, as some Donald Trump supporters protested in Detroit demanding a halt to ballot counting in the key state of Michigan. New York demonstrators were peaceful and spanned generations, with marchers heading from Fifth Avenue towards Washington Square Park in the heart of Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

In New York's Democratic stronghold demonstrators were hopeful but wary of calling it for their candidate Biden just yet. "We need to count every vote in this election," said Sarah Boyagian, part of the Protect The Results Coalition behind the demonstration organized under tight police supervision.

"Donald Trump has claimed the election before every vote is counted and we are sending the message that that is not acceptable," the 29-year-old said AFP.
John Fraser, 47, said he's "worried Trump is going to void the vote." "I am not sure Biden has won, we have to wait until all votes are counted," said the software developer, adding: "I am worried that democracy is hanging by a thread right now."

The Detroit protest outside a ballot processing center were far more tense, according to an AFP photographer and clips on social media. Cries of "stop the count!" rang out in the city in Michigan-where US media declared Biden the victor-as Trump's campaign announced a lawsuit to try and suspend the vote count, claiming its team was denied proper access to observe vote counting.

Social media clips showed protestors with fists raised prevented from entering the center by police. Meanwhile, Oregon police and National Guard troops in camouflage trucks pursued far-left protesters around the US city of Portland as a riot was declared late Wednesday, making at least 10 arrests.

The northwestern city that has seen continuous protests since summer had been placed on high alert by Governor Kate Brown, who extended an election-night emergency order amid fears of violent clashes over the contested US polls. A heavy law enforcement presence flooded the streets after a handful of demonstrators broke off from hundreds-strong anti-Trump protests to shatter storefront windows, and a man believed to have thrown a Molotov cocktail was arrested.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office cited "widespread violence" in the city's downtown area, including glass bottles thrown at police who advanced on demonstrators. An AFP journalist at the scene witnessed two arrests during a skirmish on a street corner that left protester Michael Ream with a bloodied face. "It's the same thing it always is-just horrible conduct of the police force and the terrible legacy that they carry every day," the 38-year-old PhD student told AFP as police handcuffed him. Asked whether this week's contested election had brought him to the streets, he replied: "More or less. I mean, I haven't been out (protesting) in a while."

Portland has seen months of clashes between police and demonstrators, angered at the repeated killings of Black Americans by law enforcement officers across the country. The protesters involved in Wednesday's clashes had earlier attended a 300-strong peaceful rally in a downtown park hosted by a coalition of anti-capitalist groups featuring lectures, music and slogans including "The Vote is Over. The Fight Goes On." Rally organizer Evan Burchfield told AFP the city had been using the police as a "tool of political repression" for years and that "nothing is actually going to change" if Joe Biden is elected.

Another group of protesters who had gathered by Portland's river Wednesday vowed to "protect the results" of Tuesday's close-run election and held banners proclaiming "Count Every Vote." "We want Trump out of office, that's the main focus," one rally leader told the crowd, to loud cheers. Several of the demonstrators were openly carrying firearms, including rifles, and one anti-racism and anti-imperialism banner showed an image of an assault rifle, with the slogan "We Don't Want Biden. We Want Revenge." -AFP