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JUST IN: Riots, protests, tensions as US awaits presidential election results

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Governor Kate Brown activated the Oregon National Guard to help police protests in Portland early Wednesday evening after some demonstrators smashed windows of downtown businesses, officials said.

The damage by a small group of protesters also spurred the joint law enforcement command authorized by Brown to declare that gathering a riot. Dozens of state troopers responded and ordered people to leave. Officers said police arrested at least 10 people, including one person accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail toward police. Police said they also sized a rifle, ammunition, a knife, hammers and fireworks from some people arrested.

Yet as police and protesters clashed in one part of downtown, a peaceful protest for racial justice took place several blocks away. The demonstrations collectively attracted a few hundred people as the nation awaited the presidential election results.

Also on Wednesday evening, 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 told 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.

With Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, Biden now has a total of 264 – six shy of the magic number of 270 needed to win the US presidency, according to US network projections. (News Express/oregonlive.com and AFP)

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