With right-wing militia group the Proud Boys also among those attending the Trump supporters' rally, a large security presence was deployed to prevent clashes with anti-Trump events outside the Supreme Court.
Thousands of die-hard Donald Trump supporters have rallied for a last stand in Washington, chanting "four more years" and blaming fraud for an election defeat that will force the president to vacate the White House after just one term.
Trump himself made a drive-past in his armoured motorcade, on his way to play golf, smiling through his limousine window to wild cheers and signs saying "Best prez ever" and "Trump 2020: Keep America Great."
The Republican incumbent is sticking to discredited claims of mass fraud and claiming he defeated President-elect Joe Biden in the November 3 vote, marking another unprecedented challenge to US democratic norms as his time in office runs down.
At least 10,000 people — few wearing masks — massed on the city's Freedom Plaza before marching towards the Supreme Court, brandishing flags in a raucous atmosphere reminiscent of a Trump campaign rally.
Among the speakers was a Georgia Republican newly elected to the US House. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has expressed racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories, urged people to march peacefully toward the Supreme Court.
With right-wing militia group the Proud Boys also among those attending, a large security presence was deployed to prevent clashes with anti-Trump events outside the Supreme Court.
Hundreds of thousands of people showing their support in D.C. They will not stand for a Rigged and Corrupt Election! https://t.co/tr35WKTKM8— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2020
'Whole system's rigged'
The latest tallies gave Biden a clear win in the state-by-state Electoral College that decides the presidency, with 306 votes against Trump's 232 — 270 are required for election.
The issues that Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.
Trump’s campaign has also filed legal challenges complaining that their poll watchers were unable to scrutinise the voting process. Many of those challenges have been tossed out by judges, some within hours of their filing.
But Margarita Urtubey, 49, a horse breeder who flew in from Miami with her sister, said the election was "so corrupt," adding "Trump won by a landslide. We are here to march for the 'stop the steal' of this election, to make our voice heard."
Darion Schaublin drove from Columbus, Ohio to protest the fact "the whole system's rigged... in the way that the information is getting to the people."
"The truth never actually gets out," said the 26-year-old, who says he lost his job in a restaurant after refusing to wear a mask as protection from Covid-19.
.@FoxNews and the Fake News Networks aren’t showing these massive gatherings. Instead they have their reporters standing in almost empty streets. We now have SUPPRESSION BY THE PRESS. MAGA! https://t.co/RMOa4jKZwA— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2020
Million MAGA March
The “Million MAGA March” was heavily promoted on social media, raising concerns that it could spark conflict with anti-Trump demonstrators, who have gathered near the White House in Black Lives Matter Plaza for weeks.
In preparation, police closed off wide swaths of downtown, where many stores and offices have been boarded up since Election Day. Chris Rodriguez, director of the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said the police were experienced at keeping the peace.
A former administration official, Sebastian Gorka, whipped up the crowd by the Supreme Court by saying, “We can win because he did win.” But, he added, “It's going to be tough.”
With the march underway, Trump tweeted that "hundreds of thousands" had turned out — while his spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany made the greatly exaggerated claim that more than a million people were present.
But the turnout was undoubtedly high for a strongly Democratic city, boosted by protesters from around the country, from Florida to Pennsylvania or Colorado.
Biden prepares for power
President Trump is impeding Biden's transition ahead of inauguration on January 20 and has filed numerous lawsuits — unsuccessfully — to challenge vote counts around the country.
Trump said on Friday that "time will tell" if he remains president, in a momentary slip of his refusal to concede his election defeat.
The hint of doubt came despite him continuing to claim that mass fraud robbed him of victory, despite his own intelligence officials' declaration this week that the election was "the most secure in American history."
In Washington, half a dozen supporters stood at one side of the entrance with Trump flags, and about the same number stood on the opposite side with a big "Biden Harris" sign and one that said: "We voted. You're fired."
Biden on Saturday went biking in a Delaware state park with his wife Jill and a security detail. When asked if he was closer to choosing his cabinet, he replied "yes."
Despite Trump's stance, the president-elect is preparing for power, with many world leaders acknowledging his victory.
China was the latest nation on board, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying, "We express our congratulations."