10:30 p.m. The NYPD also arrested some members of the second group of protesters, who marched downtown from 59th Street, in addition to the dozens of protesters arrested in the West Village earlier in the night.
The group of several dozen protesters were escorted by a heavy police presence all the way down to 14th Street between Irving Place and 3rd Avenue. There, it appeared that someone slipped in the street and fell, causing a chaotic splitting of the march from the street into the sidewalk.
"We were trying to get people onto the sidewalk. They tried to dive into us to get us, they were pushing us," said Regine Shabazz, who was with the group. "Some people were almost cracking their skulls on the sidewalk, because they were being pushed so forcefully by the police. One of them was pushing their bike into me. I told him to his face, 'Does this make you feel good?' He couldn't look me in the eye. And it shows."
Around half a dozen people were arrested.
Police then forced groups of protesters onto the sidewalk and refused to let anyone pass, including Mayor Bill de Blasio's press secretary
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called the videos tweeted by one of our reporters earlier in the evening "incredibly disturbing."
The NYPD tweeted photos of knives, some fireworks, and what appears to be a stun gun, as justification for the violent arrests tonight. An NYPD spokesperson could not say how many people were arrested, or what they have been charged with.
We support everyone's right to self-expression, but setting fires puts others at risk and will not be tolerated. We are working to de-escalate the situation near Morton Street in the West Village to prevent further damage from occurring. pic.twitter.com/4nTK6UUBzC— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 5, 2020
9:32 p.m. Hundreds of NYPD officers arrested dozens of protesters on West 8th Street and 5th Avenue.
The group of people that met in Washington Square Park set off around 7:45 p.m. on a march that turned rowdy at times. Small trash fires were set in the street, a Biden-Harris flag was burned, and demonstrators heckled the officers trailing them for supporting Trump.
Soon, the protesters were outnumbered by the police. Armored NYPD officers on bicycles began making a few arrests, shoving some people to the ground. Eventually, the police kettled a crowd of the remaining protesters on 5th Avenue. The protesters shouted "let us disperse," but the NYPD closed in to arrest them, swinging fists and batons. Many of the officers wearing armor did not display any identification. One officer told a reporter they didn't need to.
"They are clearly hungry for blood, as they usually are. They're dressed like Iron Man, for no reason. It's a fear tactic, for sure," said Derek, a 25-year-old photographer who declined to give his full name.
"I was not about setting the fires tonight, Biden's looking to win, that's gonna look bad on him," Derek said. "But then they storm people who didn't even start the fires."
He added, "Nights like this really make you see what it is we're fighting about: systemic injustice, excessive use of force, the fact that the cops are militarized."
Asked to describe what happened, Shakee Merritt, 21, said, "The cops, like many other situations, they attacked people, they positioned people in a position where they had nowhere to go. So it's either you get arrested or you get attacked by the police. And that's the system in which we live in, in New York City.
"People have the right to be in the streets."
An NYPD spokesperson on Wednesday night said "up to 30" people had been arrested, but did not provide any more information.
8:30 p.m. A group of protesters now appears to be kettled by the NYPD at 5th Avenue and West 8th Streets.
8:10 p.m. At least four demonstrators have been arrested near the intersection of Leroy and 7th Avenue by heavily armored NYPD Strategic Response Group officers on bicycles.
In one of the arrests, the officers appear to be shouting "OGA! OGA!" as they tackled a man off his bike and onto the ground.
"OGA" might be a reference to "obstructing governmental administration," a catch-all misdemeanor charge that the NYPD frequently levels against protesters at demonstrations for refusing to obey police orders.
8:04 p.m. The group uptown—numbering around 75 people—and the group in Washington Square Park, have both set off on marches into the streets. The uptown group is heading down Lexington Avenue. The downtown group numbers around 250, and is heading south on 7th Avenue, chanting "Every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground!"
Both marches are being followed by large numbers of NYPD officers.
7:15 p.m. Just south of Central Park, Jonathan Peck told a reporter that he came out to keep fighting for deeper societal issues that both political parties have long ignored.
"The social and economic disparities are way too big," Peck said. "There's so many factors that those in power aren't even thinking about...They're catering to those who are barely being taxed."
Peck, a 28-year-old Long Island resident who grew up in Queens, said that no matter the results of the election, people living on the margins and in the middle class would have to keep providing for themselves, and keep fighting for change.
"These people here are not willing to give up and go home and be worried about about whether we've got the right [candidate] or whether we have 'four more years.' Because we have all the years after that to worry about as well. We're way beyond that point," he said. "Black and Brown people are going to continue fighting, no matter what."
New Yorkers Hit The Streets As Trump Campaign Preps Lawsuits To Stop Ballot Counting
6:22 p.m. Around 200 people are gathered in Washington Square Park, as numerous NYPD helicopters fly overhead.
"We're in NYU, in Rubin Hall, and helicopters are surrounding us the whole night," said NYU freshman Emily Hernandez, who is out with her friend and fellow freshman Amanda Chacha.
Hernandez pegged her anxiety level at an "8."
"Both candidates are pretty bad, they both have their cons," Chacha added. "But it's choosing the lesser of two evils. I'd rather not have to fear for my life, every single day, [under Trump]."
Surfi, who was playing chess in Washington Square Park, and said he was a political refugee from Bangladesh, marveled that President Trump has gotten as far as he has.
"Really? Are you that stupid to put Trump in the White House? Normal people don't have the common sense to figure it out?" he exclaimed.
"The people in all those red states don't understand that the U.S. election affects the foreign economy. U.S. foreign policy has effects on both sides of the Pacific and Atlantic. It's not only you, it's the rest of the f*cking world that depends on this election."
Meanwhile, dozens of other people are convening at 59th Street, just a few blocks north of Trump Tower.
Protesters are gathering at 59th Street. Some say they’re here to keep pushing, bc whoever wins, it’ll still be “an old white man in the White House” who doesn’t represent POC or trans rights. Others say it’s the culmination of what they’ve been protesting all summer. pic.twitter.com/w6QINrHoXd— Just your friendly neighborhood transit reporter (@s_nessen) November 4, 2020
Here just south of Central Park this evening with dozens of protesters here to call out systemic inequities regardless of who wins the election. Speaker says both parties have engaged in voter suppression against Black people in the US pic.twitter.com/3YCxTcOXHR— Sydney Pereira (@sydneyp1234) November 4, 2020
5:28 p.m. As more votes in battleground states like Wisconsin and Michigan are counted, former Vice President Joe Biden's narrow lead over President Donald Trump continues to expand the day after the election.
“I’m not here to declare that we’ve won, but I am here to report that when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners,” Biden told supporters on Wednesday afternoon. “Power can’t be taken or asserted. It flows from the people. And it’s their will that determines who will be the president of the United States, and their will alone."
New Yorkers began mobilizing outside the New York Public Library's main branch on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street around 4 p.m., one of many "Protect The Results" rallies happening across the country. The group is currently marching down 5th Avenue. There are also marches and rallies planned for 6 p.m. at 59th and 5th, and 7 p.m. in Washington Square Park.
"I'm here because I don't know if all the votes are going to be counted or if the results of the election are going to be accepted by Donald Trump and his supporters," said Saira Rafiee, a 35-year-old student from Iran, who was marched down 5th Avenue. "Fascism is there and it's time to oppose it. This is the time."
Raifee said that she was affected by the travel ban that Trump imposed in 2016 that was later repeatedly struck down in federal courts as unconstitutional.
"It's not just important for the U.S. but for the whole world. This is a really important crossroad in history."
Michele Dupey, who came into Manhattan from her home in Bayonne, New Jersey, said she believed that a vote for Trump is "a vote for white supremacy. And that's what upsets me."
"I thought Democrats would have swept everything, and then that would show me it's in the rear-view mirror. But right now it's still up front and center."
Dupey added, "People don't really want to deal with it, and it's really sad. Because our country will never heal unless we deal with it."
"I feel invigorated!" she shouted. "Because we the people have the power! We the people have the power! Woo! It feel good!"
We'll have more updates as the night goes on.