On Nov. 5, 2020, pro-Trump demonstraters gathered outside the Arizona Capitol building and the Maricopa County Elections Department office to protest alleged election fraud. Complaints included claims that election officials were giving Sharpies to Trump voters to mark their ballots and then invalidating their votes because the pens were used.
The crowd of several hundred included protestors armed with assault rifles. A heavy police presence surrounded government buildings to prevent the election deniers from entering. Although the event was largely peaceful, members of the press reported being threatened by protesters as counting of ballots continued inside.
The rally was organized by Mike Cernovich, an alt-right activist and media personality. He led the crowds in a chant of “stop the steal!” at the event which he promoted through social media platforms. Many extremists were in attendance, including members of the anti-government militia the Three Percenters and adherents of the conspiracy theory movement QAnon, and participants reportedly harassed the media.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), an extremist with strong ties to white nationalists, spoke to protestors in Phoenix and called the process used to tabulate the ballots fraudulent. He also told the crowd of election deniers, “This is our Alamo!” and demanded an investigation from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Gosar tweeted about his demands on Nov. 4, writing, “I’ve just requested @GeneralBrnovich to look into this issue. We can not tolerate voter fraud in Arizona.”