A crowd of protesters, some of them armed, claimed the vote had been stolen from President Donald Trump as they gathered outside the counting center in Maricopa County, Phoenix, late Wednesday, ahead of the release of new results in the presidential and Senate races.
It was one of several demonstrations across the country — some about the election, some about racial inequality. In New York, 50 people were arrested, officials told NBC New York.
In Maricopa, some in the 300-strong crowd chanted "count the votes" and "Fox News sucks," after the TV network called Arizona in Joe Biden's favor.
Arizona is too close to call, according to NBC News. Biden leads there with 50.5 percent to Trump's 48.1 percent, with 86 percent of the expected vote in — a difference of just under 70,000 votes. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is the largest in the state and will prove crucial in the presidential race.
Some vote center workers and members of the media were escorted to their vehicles for their safety, officials said. However, Sgt. Calbert Gillet, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, told NBC News no arrests were made.
Observers from both parties were inside the election center as ballots were processed and counted, and the procedure was live-streamed online at all times.
Clint Hickman, the Republican chairman of Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and Democratic supervisor Steve Gallardo issued a joint statement expressing concern about how misinformation had spread about the integrity of the election process.
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"Everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person," it said. "An accurate vote takes time. This is evidence of democracy, not fraud."
Trump falsely claimed early Wednesday that he had already won the race against former Vice President Joe Biden, even though no winner had been declared and millions of ballots were still being counted. He also made it clear that he'd fight in court to aid his re-election.
Other protests took place in cities, including Los Angeles, Houston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and San Diego, where frustrated Trump and Biden supporters took to the streets.
In Portland, Oregon, police declared a riot and Gov. Kate Brown called out the National Guard.
"It's important to trust the process, and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis," Brown said in a statement. "We are all in this together."
Chief of Portland Police Chuck Lovell said in a video message posted to Twitter that officers “witnessed widespread violent behavior, such as destruction of property, smashing of ATMs and shattering of windows to many businesses.”
Specially trained National Guard officers were drafted in to help, Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie said in the same video message.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s office tweeted that at least 11 people had been arrested.
Seven people were also arrested during demonstrations at Seattle’s Capitol Hill, the city’s police department said in a statement.
Elsewhere, outside Detroit’s TCF Center, Trump supporters shouted “stop the count” and “let us in.”
Earlier, the Trump campaign filed a suit in a bid to halt the count in Michigan, demanding the Democratic secretary of state allow in more inspectors.
But Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, insisted both parties and the public had been given access to the tallying, "using a robust system of checks and balances to ensure that all ballots are counted fairly and accurately."
In stark contrast, pro-Trump demonstrators showed up at counts in Nevada and Arizona demanding that all votes be counted. In Chicago, demonstrators marched along a street across the river from Trump Tower.
In San Francisco, peaceful but loud protesters gathered outside Twitter’s headquarters, where they called on the social media giant to ban Trump because he is misleading his followers about the electoral process, NBC affiliate KNTV reported.