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Protesters descend on Huntington Beach as violence hits the U.S. Capitol

Vu Son waves a Trump election flag during an election rally at Huntington Beach Pier on Wednesday.
Vu Son waves a large Trump flag during an election rally at the Huntington Beach Pier on Wednesday. About 200 people waved flags, played music and danced in support of President Donald Trump.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

K.C. Emery of Newport Beach sang “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes near the Huntington Beach Pier at midday Wednesday.

What’s going on, in Emery’s eyes, is a “stolen” presidential election.

She was one of a couple of hundred supporters of President Donald Trump who gathered at Pier Plaza to protest President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

As the local crowd chanted “four more years” and “stop the steal,” members of Congress gathered in Washington, D.C., to count electoral votes and certify the election.

That process became violent as a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building. The National Guard was called in and the counting delayed, although members of Congress returned Wednesday night to resume the count.

Tweets and time stamps offer a timeline of the events that led to a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol building hours after the president spoke at a rally nearby.

The drama came just hours after Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff each won runoff elections in Georgia, ensuring that Democrats will have control of the U.S. Senate.

The protest in Surf City, which had mostly broken up by 3 p.m., was more peaceful, though there was a police presence.

Emery, who goes by the nickname “Sunshine,” called Trump a hero. She said she used the drug hydroxycholoroquine, which was endorsed by Trump but whose efficacy against the coronavirus has been discredited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help cure herself and her son of COVID-19 in June.

“Donald Trump saved my life and saved America from communism,” Emery said.

“It’s not about the Democrats versus the Republicans. It is absolutely about the communist takeover of America. I do everything that I can to come out and speak the truth of what Donald Trump has done for this country. He’s an imperfect person that God used to bring about change in America and to overcome the communist takeover of America.”

President Donald Trump supporter Kim Nguyen of Corona stands in front of an American flag.
President Donald Trump supporter Kim Nguyen of Corona stands in front of an American flag during an election rally at the Huntington Beach Pier on Wednesday.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Emery said the situation in Washington, D.C., was “unfortunate,” but added that she believes members of Antifa had infiltrated the group that became violent.

California state Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) posted, then deleted an unsubstantiated tweet on Wednesday accusing the leftist antifascist group of leading that mob.

“I think that it’s critical to have the National Guard on the ground at all times because we’re on the brink of a civil war,” Emery said.

Omar Auvaa came from Montebello to attend the protest. Auvaa, who wore a “Samoans for Trump” hat, said he believes Trump has not gotten a fair chance during his tenure.

“In history, we’ve never had a president that got hated like that,” Auvaa said. “Everybody got too ‘touchy feely’ all of a sudden. I came home and my dad sees me crying because some kid hit me, [and he said] ‘Why don’t you hit him back?’ I’m from that era, bro.”

Janet Lu of Long Beach said she was attending her second pro-Trump protest, while Kayla Kipling of Aliso Viejo said she came to the protest after attending a smaller one in Corona del Mar on Wednesday morning.

Kipling, who said most of her friends are not conservative and don’t share her political views, wore a Make America Great Again hat, along with a Trump T-shirt. She carried a sign that read, “One Nation Under God."

“I’m here personally because I’m a patriot,” Kipling said. “I love America and I believe in honest elections.”

Not everyone at the rally was pro-Trump, however. Bret Zschlomer, who called himself a lifelong Huntington Beach resident, received a hostile reaction from many after showing up in a red hat with duct tape on the front and the words “F— Trump.”

Trump supporters gather in the U.S. capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory over President Trump.

“I saw what was happening on the news, and I knew that the Trump supporters would show up and support that,” Zschlomer said. “They want to keep Trump in office by any means possible, and if that means subverting democracy, so be it. I think that’s un-American, and that’s why I’m here with this hat.”

Zschlomer said he has never seen Huntington Beach as divided as it has been during Trump’s tenure.

“I thought somebody should at least make their opinion known about what Trump has done to this country for the last four years,” he said. “Now they’re storming the Capitol building, and I think it’s a disgrace … It’s crazy what these people think, and it just seems that Donald Trump has brought us to this point.”

People hold a variety of signs during an election rally at the Huntington Beach Pier on Wednesday.
People hold a variety of signs during an election rally at the Huntington Beach Pier on Wednesday.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

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