OLYMPIA, Washington–Armed Clashes erupted in the streets of Olympia, Washington on Saturday as several protest groups converged on the city, pitting pro-Trump protesters against counter-protesters and leaving at least one shot dead.
Washington State Patrol confirmed that one person was in custody after the shooting, according to the Seattle Times, but no details were immediately available on the victim’s condition.
The shooting came after members of a pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally were joined by the Proud Boys and members of another group protesting against COVID-19 restrictions as they clashed with cons -demonstrators. The groups spent hours taunting and scuffling each other, many on both sides armed and wearing bulletproof vests, before police in Olympia rioted for “aggressive behavior”.
As the pro-Trump protesters and some of the Proud Boys retreated in their vehicles, they were confronted by a large group of counter-protesters, some of whom pulverized masses. It was at this point that a fleeing protester fired a gun at the crowd, hitting a counter-protester in the abdomen. The counter-protester was taken to hospital but no further details were immediately available.
A worn case was later found at the scene by police, along with what appeared to be an improvised explosive device.
As the Olympian noted, the police presence was strong on Saturday, after similar events unfolded over the weekend and ended in violence. “The neighbors are exhausted and the city has said its resources are exhausted,” the newspaper reported.
Tensions seemed poised to boil all day Saturday, with numerous brawls breaking out between opposing groups. Trump supporters and the Proud Boys threw IEDs, fired paintball guns, and threw smoke grenades at counter-protesters. As the counter-protesters attempted to approach Capitol Hill, a Trump supporter refusing to budge was assaulted by counter-protesters and was subsequently treated by the Washington State Patrol.
Even as the pro-Trump protests began earlier today, some protesters have made it clear that they expect violence. As the counter-demonstrators gathered for the first time in a park near the capital, a man in camouflage, wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying what appeared to be a high-capacity weapon, brought them down looked and made a radio to find out where they were gathered.
It was not immediately clear who was on the other end of his radio.
At another point, a member of one of the pro-Trump rallies who identified himself only as Tom told the crowd, “It makes me feel good to see all these patriots here ready to fight for our nation. “
“I hope it doesn’t … well, I don’t know, I hope we get there,” he said.
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