By Aram Roston and Mark Makela
Joe Biden supporters banged pots, honked their car horns and set off fireworks across U.S. cities on Saturday after the Democratic presidential nominee won the White House in a narrow victory over Republican President Donald Trump.
But some in Trump’s camp also turned out to show that, for them, the election was not over.
Minutes after major television networks declared Biden the winner following four nail-biting days since Tuesday’s election, hundreds of people, most of them wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, streamed to the White House to celebrate outside a security fence as the sound of booming fireworks was heard in the distance.
“I was on the bus and I jumped off the bus to come right down here to the White House,” said Washington resident Donna Thomas. “It is something to celebrate. We have been waiting so long.”
Streets were closed to traffic as Biden supporters marched with an assortment of LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter and American flags. Some carried a giant balloon of Trump in the shape of a rat.
In front of the White House, a man wearing a Biden-Harris T-shirt lit a Trump-Pence T-shirt on fire as a crowd watched and took pictures with their cellphones.
In nearby Dupont Circle, several hundred people formed a parade, playing music, singing and dancing, and marched toward the White House to the sound of honking horns and clanging cowbells.
In Washington’s Petworth neighborhood, Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up” could be heard playing loudly as neighbors hooted and cars sounded their horns.
On Pennsylvania Avenue, a steady stream of celebrants made their way in front of the Trump Hotel, occasionally stopping to stick up their middle fingers at the hotel, wave “bye-bye” or mock the president.
“Na-na, na-na-na-na, hey-hey, Good-bye,” sang one impromptu crowd. Many stopped to pose with two posters someone had left in front of the hotel that said: “Don’t be a sore loser,” “Face reality” and “Lock Him Up.”
Sisters Barbara and Debora Caruth were among those who stopped and posed for photos in front of the hotel’s massive stone archways.
“We got rid of a guy who didn’t even try to represent the country,” said Debora Caruth, 59.
In Delaware, loud cheers erupted in the halls of the hotel where Biden aides are staying. “Worth every minute (of the wait)”, a Biden aide said. Campaign staff exchanged elbow bumps and air hugs in the hotel lobby.
The sun was shining in nearby Philadelphia, where Biden’s 80.8% to 18.3% win over Trump tipped the election in the Democrat’s favor.
Enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, Biden supporters cheered, danced and hugged on the streets. Sisters Nyla, 11, and Jada Carter, 23, chanted “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” at Trump supporters gathered across the street.
In New Orleans, Dana Clark, an African-American woman who stood in line for more than eight hours to cast her vote for Biden, all the while holding her 18-month-old son, Mason, in her arms, said she was overjoyed.
“I’m at my older son’s soccer game right now, and I just started running all around the field when I saw the news,” Clark said.
People in New York City danced in the streets and cheered from balconies, brownstone stoops and rooftops – with Biden-Harris signs and American flags – to cheer the Democrat’s win.
At Columbus Circle, a planned demonstration turned into a dance party celebrating New York and the election’s result while revelers at Washington Square Park danced and splashed in the park’s fountain.
In Atlanta, shouts, cheers and fireworks rang out in the Democratic stronghold of East Atlanta Village as word spread that Biden was named the winner.
Atlanta nurse and lifelong Democrat Emily Dietl, 36, said she felt relieved, but was curious to see how Trump would respond.
“He won’t be gracious, I’ll tell you that,” Dietl said.
Trump, who has made repeated claims of electoral fraud without providing evidence, immediately accused Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner.”
“This election is far from over,” Trump said in a statement.
Some of Trump’s supporters were not ready to stand down either.
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state that put Biden over the 270 Electoral College votes he needed for victory, about 100 pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” protesters demonstrated in front of the State Capitol building, facing off against about the same number of Biden supporters.
Hundreds of Trump supporters gathered on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Saturday, waving Trump-Pence flags to shouts of “This is not over” and “We will be here forever.”
At the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, tensions were running high as supporters of the Republican president, some carrying firearms, showed up by the hundreds, chanting “Trump won” and “We will win in court.” They blamed the media for declaring Biden the winner. “The media is part of the coup!” one protester shouted.