A man was also shot in Olympia in Washington state during similar confrontations between people protesting Trump’s loss and pandemic restrictions, and Black Lives Matter activists, NBC News reported. A suspect was in custody.
The stabbing victims in the nation’s capital were all hospitalized with critical injuries, according to D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department spokesperson Doug Buchanan, NBC reported.
The injuries occurred amid fights between the white nationalist Proud Boys and counterprotesters. The victims were stabbed near Harry’s Bar, a “gathering place” for the Proud Boys, the Post reported.
It wasn’t immediately clear which group was responsible for the stabbings.
The atmosphere was tense as soon as the protest began in the afternoon and quickly devolved into punching, kicking and wrestling confrontations.
Police Chief Peter Newsham told the Post that police units were mobilized to keep the groups apart. But smaller factions that splintered off from the main protest appeared to be “intent on conflict,” he said.
A group of Proud Boys was filmed stomping on a Black Lives Matter banner and chanting “USA, USA.”
Twenty-three people were arrested. Ten people were arrested for simple assault, six for assault on police officers, four for riotous acts, two for crossing a police line, and one for possession of a prohibited weapon ― a Taser, CNN reported.
Trump cheered on the protesters in a tweet. “Wow! Thousands of people forming in Washington (D.C.) for Stop the Steal. Didn’t know about this, but I’ll be seeing them! #MAGA.”
The president made three passes over the crowd in Marine One to urge them on.
In a tweet after midnight Friday, after a lawsuit challenging Trump’s election loss was bounced by the Supreme Court, the president urged supporters to “fight on!”
During a presidential debate in September, Trump told the Proud Boys on national TV to “stand back and stand by.”