The “Million MAGA March” that took place in Washington, D.C. turned violent on the evening of Saturday (Nov. 14) as Proud Boys took over the city’s streets. Thousands of Donald Trump supporters flooded to the nation’s capital to protest what they believe to be voter fraud following the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden was named the winner last week.
Trump’s supporters marched through downtown Washington and were joined by members of the far-right group. The Proud Boys were dressed in all black and some of them were spotted wearing helmets and ballistic vests. There were also reports of people being injured during the clashes.
According to NBC, one person was stabbed when a fight broke out between two large groups at 10th Street and New York Avenue NW. A spokesperson for D.C. Fire and EMS said medics took the person with critical injuries to a trauma center. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office said wo police officers were injured and 20 people were arrested since demonstrations began in the afternoon.
Videos began surfacing on social media of the far-right group walking through the streets, and getting into fights with other left-wing groups in the area, with little to no involvement from the The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. There were also videos that showed the MPD creating a barrier between the Proud Boys and the rest of the crowd, instead of stopping them.
There is also a video of the group chanting “Break out, Kyle!” which is seemingly in reference to Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager who was accused of killing two protesters and wounding a third at demonstrations in Kenosha after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August.
“We’re not done cleaning the city tonight, let’s go,” one man is heard saying in the crowd. There were also reports of people being stabbed at the demonstration and the Black Lives Matter group in D.C. reacted to the reports on Twitter. “We have heard reports of people allegedly being stabbed while MPD has been protecting the proud boys and white nationalists all night,” the group tweeted.
Ahead of the pro-Trump rallies, organizers took to social media to plan their trip to D.C. and even shared details of their stay, with one member saying he had space for more people in his Airbnb rental. The company reacted on Twitter and said it would not allow hate groups “like the Proud Boys” to use their services and canceled at least one reservation associated with the far-right group before the weekend.
President Trump reacted to the riots by defending his supporters. “Antifa SCUM ran for the hills today when they tried attacking the people at the Trump Rally, because those people aggressively fought back,” he tweeted. “Antifa waited until tonight, when 99% were gone, to attack innocent #MAGA People. DC Police, get going — do you job and don’t hold back!!!”
Earlier this year, the group made headlines when they were mentioned during the first presidential debate. Moderator Chris Wallace asked incumbent Donald Trump if he was willing to condemn white supremacy and groups like the Proud Boys in his debate against Joe Biden. “Proud Boys: stand back and stand by,” Trump said at the time. “But, I’ll tell you what, somebody’s gotta do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem; this is a left wing problem.” After celebrating the president’s encouragement, the group later made “Stand back and stand by” their slogan.