There were wind-whipped flags, big guns and even a little mayhem.
That was the scene Saturday afternoon after hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters cruised on Route 66 to gather in the parking lot of a West Central church as part of a nationwide event supporting the defeated president and criticizing the election being called for Joe Biden.
The Albuquerque Police Department got involved after a counterdemonstrator – with “(expletive) Trump” spray painted on his truck – had his tire slashed.
APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said there were no reported injuries or arrests made.
“Officers spoke with some (of) the involved parties and will follow up with additional witnesses and attempt to locate surveillance video,” he said.
The Legacy Church parking lot was a sea of Trump flags, Cowboys for Trump members on horseback and the heavily-armed New Mexico Civil Guard.
Demonstrators showed off their firearms, spouted unsubstantiated theories of voter fraud and pledged their allegiance to the outgoing president.
Joshua James said he came out to support “our president” as he held large Trump flags tight to his chest.
“I think everybody’s pretty excited to see the recount … so everybody can find out who really won this election,” James said. “People don’t know what they’re supposed to know, to understand what the truth is. The media can’t call out the winners.”
In fact, networks and major news organizations have called winners for decades, including four years ago when they projected that Trump had prevailed over Hillary Clinton.
Without citing sources, James asserted that it’s “already been proven” fraudulent voting has occurred and “Trump’s going to win hands down.”
Mike Garcia said he’s still waiting for a “fair election” but will accept the results.
“We’re waiting to see the end result and, either way, I can live with it as long as I know the process was fair,” he said, echoing Trump’s concerns with the Dominion voting system.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which spearheaded federal election protection efforts, however, has said, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised,” according to The Associated Press.
Regardless of the outcome of the election, Garcia said, the “movement” will continue “for a right way that our government should be run and trying to make change, without violence.”
A counterdemonstrator who identified himself as Brock said he was cornered in the parking lot after putting himself at “the caboose” of the Trump train.
“I was announcing on the loudspeaker that Donald Trump lost; it was upsetting to them,” he said.
Brock said he had a tire slashed and was tackled before an armed man broke up the melee, telling the crowd, “No, no we don’t do this.”
Brock said police told him the tire-slasher would be sent a criminal summons.
“APD failed again and this was not very American for people who claim to be so patriotic,” he said.
As the parking lot cleared out and Brock changed his tire, several officers watched a heavyset man twirl a nickel-plated revolver in his hands before securing it into a holster on his belt and leaving.