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Pro-Trump caravans snarl traffic, spur NY protest

November 2, 2020 Michael Balsamo Associated Press
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Vehicles draped with banners supporting President Donald Trump snarled traffic around the New York metropolitan area two days before Election day and anti-Trump protesters clashed with police in Manhattan, leading to 11 arrests.

Videos posted online showed hundreds of vehicles at a standstill around noon Sunday in the northbound express lanes of the Garden State Parkway near Lakewood, New Jersey. Police said the caravan caused a 5-mile traffic backup.

A large caravan of Trump supporters was also seen on New York’s Mario Cuomo Bridge on Sunday afternoon prior to a rally at the Palisades Center in the Rockland County community of West Nyack.

Anti-Trump demonstrators gathered at Madison Square Park in Manhattan to confront anticipated pro-Trump caravans that didn’t end up traveling through the area. Video by the New York Post showed police shoving protesters, who hurled insults at officers.

Although there were reports on Twitter of journalists being among those arrested at the protest, police said none had official press credentials issued by the city.

On Friday, video posted on Twitter showed a pro-Trump caravan riding alongside a Biden campaign bus, at times boxing it in, as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin.

At one point, one of the pickup trucks can be seen colliding with an SUV that was driving behind the bus.

Neither Biden nor his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, was aboard the bus. The incident led Democrats to cancel an event later that day.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted a video of his supporters following the Biden campaign bus, adding, “I LOVE TEXAS!”

The FBI confirmed on Sunday that it was “aware of the incident and investigating.”

Hours later, Trump suggested the FBI should stop investigating the incident. He retweeted a screenshot of the FBI statement, adding: “In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!”

An FBI spokesperson said the bureau had no comment about the president’s tweet.

Trump’s tweet came as tensions remained high between the president and FBI Director Christopher Wray, and as Trump has pressed the Justice Department and FBI to act against his rivals, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden himself. The president has also told people around him that he is frustrated with Wray over the FBI director’s public statements on issues like voting fraud, Russian election interference and antifa, and has discussed the possibility of removing Wray if he wins reelection.

Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas and Alexandra Jaffe in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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