A raucous crowd of 200 to 300 people gathered at the Roundhouse on Wednesday to show support for President Donald Trump, but the mostly peaceful rally in no way resembled the shocking, destructive and deadly riot in Washington, D.C., where demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol.

There were bitter words and deep emotions but no significant violence.

The New Mexico protesters — few of whom wore masks — waved American flags and banners that ranged from “Stop the Steal” to “Don’t Tread on Me.” Some lined the street cheering loudly as passing cars honked in solidarity. A military-style truck painted in camouflage drove past repeatedly and blasted its horn, firing up the crowd.

Many Roundhouse protesters continued to voice their distrust of election results, though no lawsuits by Trump or his supporters challenging the outcome have stood up in court.

Antonio Martinez of Albuquerque said he questioned the vote count, finding it suspicious that President-elect Joe Biden received so many votes.

“You think someone who can’t form a sentence gets more votes than [Barack] Obama?” Martinez, 26, said. “That’s kind of hard to believe.”

Holly Branch of Albuquerque waved a huge American flag and wore big white sunglasses and sequined red tights.

“We can’t let something like election fraud stand without a full investigation,” she said.

Nearby, a man named Edward sat in a wheelchair with an assault rifle cradled close to his body.

He said he works with disabled veterans in Deming, where he lives. Speaking quietly, with measured tones, he said he doesn’t feel like “we got a fair shake with this election.

“I have some serious doubts about how this election was carried out,” he said. “Having confidence in the election process is pretty important.”

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A crowd of about 200 to 300 people gathered at the Roundhouse on Wednesday afternoon in support of President Donald Trump. 

Wednesday’s protest was far from the first of the season — pro-Trump demonstrations have been common, usually on Saturdays, in the weeks since the election. As with other rallies, some people came with their horses and banners, determined to have their say on the day Congress was to formalize Biden’s election.

Scott Chandler, 49, hauled his horse, Tornado, 300 miles from Deming to protest what he deemed a fraudulent election. He criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for refusing to hear challenges to the election, including a lawsuit brought by 17 state attorneys general.

“All that does is give more people reason to doubt,” Chandler said. “We should have our day in court.”

When asked about the roughly 60 lawsuits that lower courts rejected because they lacked evidence of widespread fraud, he said these were more examples of bad rulings.

Some offered little to back up their beliefs that the election was stolen, other than it seemed wrong.

“Trump won — there’s no question,” said Irene McKenzie of Albuquerque. “The people who are doing this are, I don’t know, they’re bad people. The fraud by itself proves it. All the votes Biden got, they know belong to Trump.”

One of the speakers at the rally — Karen Bedonie, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House seat in the 3rd Congressional District last year — told the crowd the fight is a moral, spiritual and political one.

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Holly Branch, of Bernalillo county, waves an American flag alongside protestors outside of the Roundhouse in support of President Donald Trump on Wednesday afternoon.

Some in the crowd cheered when she said protesters in Washington were storming the Capitol.

“We’re gonna get blamed for the worst parts that are happening,” she said, urging the crowd to “love one another, pray for each other, pray for our enemies.”

Other speakers from Cowboys for Trump and the New Mexico Freedoms Alliance urged the crowd to support Republican lawmakers in supporting legislation that speaks to who they are as conservatives.

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Members of Cowboys for Trump arrive at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

Police presence was not readily visible in the early stages of the rally, though about six officers were seen on the perimeter. But more than a dozen state police vehicles converged on the area when tensions reportedly flared between some pro-Trump protesters and a few counterprotesters across the street from the Roundhouse.

Chaos ensued for about a half-hour while one protester blared through a bullhorn that police should arrest real criminals and not patriots exercising their constitutional rights.

Afterward, a counterprotester drove a truck with BLM — for Black Lives Matter — and an expletive about Trump painted on the sides.

He riled up Trump supporters as he drove past them slowly. One woman hopped onto the truck bed and offered him a middle finger.

The woman, Nadine Trujillo, 41, said she backed the D.C. protesters who invaded the Capitol.

“I do not think it was going too far,” the Española woman said. “We must acknowledge and invoke our U.S. constitutional rights — the act of 1776. We have to stand up and we have to be present for the future of our children, our grandchildren.”

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Mark Smith waves a flag featuring Donald Trump on a velociraptor outside of the Capitol during a protest in support of President Trump on Wednesday afternoon.

The demonstration went beyond opposition to election results, with participants and speakers bashing the state’s public health policies that call for face coverings, limited group sizes and restrictions on business activities.

After a briefly festive atmosphere with loud music, a group of speakers called Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s policies tyrannical and illegal.

“Do not comply, and stop wearing those stupid masks!” an unidentified female speaker exhorted.

Neither the Governor’s Office nor the state Department of Health would comment on the protesters flouting rules imposed to slow the virus’s spread. They merely reiterated that precautions such as donning masks work.

“Mask-wearing, physical distancing and other measures are how we protect our families, friends and communities,” Health Department spokesman Matt Bieber said. “They’re how we keep our most vulnerable neighbors safe. They’re how we save lives.”

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Karri Mascarenas sporting a Keep America Great and Trump stickers on her face at Wednesday’s demonstration at the State Capitol in support of President Donald Trump. 

As the main protest waned, a rowdier group started shouting that Lujan Grisham should be arrested.

The state Republican Party issued a statement midday condemning the violence at the U.S. Capitol.

“While we support the right for free speech and to demonstrate peacefully, such violence and threatening actions cannot be tolerated,” said state GOP Chairman Steve Pearce.

At the same time as the rally, the Legislative Council, a group of legislators from both parties, was meeting to discuss the upcoming session.

At the end of the meeting, Raúl Burciaga, director of the Legislative Council Service, updated lawmakers on the situation. He said the number of protesters had “thinned considerably” and that there were probably only 50 left on Old Santa Fe Trail.

“As far as I can tell,” he said, “the only thing they may have left behind are some horse droppings.”

“How appropriate,” Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque, wrote on Twitter. “What they left is what they are peddling.”

Staff writers Robert Nott and Daniel Chacón contributed to this report.

(65) comments

Al Chavez

Its good to read that Cumulus Media has cracked down on the pro-Trump radio hosts telling them "to stop suggesting that the election was stolen from President Trump — or else face termination."

I wonder if the local KKOB station will act responsibly and cut out their seditious commentary? And maybe the Steve Ricketts show on KDSK will be hosted by Steve Crickets from now on.... :)

Cindy Eakin

I happened to be in the area around 3:30 and could see that there were protesters. There were multiple speeding vehicles Paseo de Peralta and turning north onto Otero, all flying Trump flags and banners. I continued around the Paseo, spent about 10 minutes dropping off a few items. As I headed back to Paseo heading toward Old Santa Trail I could hear sirens and see a line of State Police vehicles all with lights flashing. They converged onto Old Santa Fe Trail between the Round House and the PERA building where they stopped. I would estimate 15 - 20 State Police vehicles. By this time I was at the light and turning the opposite direction. I took a very poor picture, but can count 12-15 vehicles in the picture.

This article provides no explanation of what could have caused a response of this size. Indeed, it doesn’t even mention it.

An article on Vox which summarizes protests at various state capitals suggests that there was an attempt to enter the Round House. Perhaps the New Mexican could follow up?

Lee DiFiore

The term "mostly peaceful rally" that appears in this article has lost all meaning as it was also used to describe looting, arson, vandalism and assault during the riots of the last six months.

Jim Klukkert

Oh please Lee DeFlection, you ought to read Emmy Koyam's posts for spinning numbers: "Of the estimated 400,000 people in the crowd, a few hundred clashed with Police, and a few dozen entered the Capitol building and damaged property and/or fought with Capitol Police. So, in that sense, if 399,500 people in the crowd did not engage in any violence or destruction, then it was clearly 'mostly peaceful'.:

If that doesn't work, I'm sure that QAnon will soon have a spin strategy that you will love!

Al Chavez

And so Mr. Klukkert you can't defend the seditionists you you defend all those "peaceful" people who stood on the Capitol steps and the balconies and all around the Capitol building having broken through barriers that were intended to keep them from trespassing. *Those* "peaceful" people? Every single trespasser should be arrested just like you would want a trespasser who visited your property arrested. Or maybe you would shoot that trespasser and actually be backed up by the law? And you want to forgive the white-privilege trespassers who similarly acted in support of the seditionists and broke into Federal property unlawfully? This whole thing was not a peaceful protest. It was a riot instigated by the President of the United States--a blatant act of treason.

Wake up, sir.

Al Chavez

Have the State Police learned the lesson of Washington D.C, 1/6/2021?

Governor Lujan has two crises on her hands right now. She has been Michelle-the-Superb with respect to the Pandemic.

Now, please Governor, repeat that competence and direct the State Police to fully prepare for the kind of insurrection we know dyed-in-the-wool Trumpers are capable of carrying out.

To begin with, purge any and all Trump sympathizers on the State Police force; ensure the loyalty of all remaining officers to the citizens of the State. Now that we know the extent to which these insurrectionists will go, it is time to prepare for serious disorder. Instruct loyal State Police to use **all** necessary force to protect State property and especially the lives of everyone in the State Capitol and surrounding offices. Establish a wide perimeter around the "Round House" and other State offices. Arrest and jail trespassers immediately--no exceptions.

Exceptional times require exceptional action.

Donato Velasco

WHAT HAPPEND ON THE PLAZA???

Khal Spencer

Nice to know there is just as much B.S. on the left as on the right. Trump got 74 million votes or 47% of those cast. You plan on disenfranchising almost half the people in the country?

By the way, "purging" (nice totalitarian word) any State Police who are Trump supporters would be met with an instant court injunction. But I suspect you know that.

Mike Johnson

Agreed Khal, people in northern NM always fail to understand the attraction conservatives have in so many parts of the country, a blind and parochial northern NM in so many ways. The conservatives are not going anywhere, in fact we just had an election where conservatives gained lots of seats in the House, and did very well in the Senate, only hundreds of millions of dollars poured into 2 candidates by the left wing gained a fragile 1 vote Senate margin with conservative Joe Manchin in charge of that one vote. Couple all that with the likelihood that the left wing will overreach, as they have done before in the first 2 years of Obama, and soon the House and Senate will be back in conservative hands. America is and will continue to be a 50/50 country, and thus things will not change.

Khal Spencer

Indeed. Trump got 47% of the votes and won 25 states. That is not a landslide. 1964,1972, and 1984 were historic landslides (LBJ v Goldwater, Nixon v. McGovern, Nixon v. Mondale) were historic landslides that showed a sea change. I think this election was about booting Trump more than a sea change to the Left.

Aside from that, firing people based on their political affiliations is off the table in NM, "Employers may not coerce employees through direct or indirect threats of discharge or discharge them because of their political beliefs or voting activities."

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/politics-at-work.aspx

As far as loyalty oaths, these are a throwback to the Cold War. While they are sometimes legal, the only "organization" that ties someone to Trump would be the GOP and I really doubt that GOP membership makes someone a security risk. If there is an association with Proud Boys or a group that actively advocates for the overthrow of the government, that's another matter. Cornell U. has a good discussion of loyalty oath court cases for those interested. Google the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (two URLs might bounce this comment).

As far as whether 47% is close to half, I'll defer to the mathematicians or Mr. Chavez, but suspect it depends on the frame of reference.

But right now, given what happened yesterday, I just wish people would try to keep the conversation between the forty yard lines.

Russell Scanlon

To quote yourself in 2016: “You lost. Get over it”

Khal Spencer

Hey Russell. Just to inform you. I'm a lifelong Dem and voted for Joe. I didn't lose. I just want to make clear that those who think this was a landslide don't have a command of history.

Al Chavez

80 million to 74 million is not "nearly half" by any stretch. Arithmetic 101. A loss is a loss. Republicans seem to have trouble with a very simple concept. And just look at where that got us yesterday.

Khal Spencer

47% is far closer to one half than to one third or two fifths. Sounds like you need the math lesson.

Emily Koyama

History shows that the midterms are not kind to those controlling the government.

Those of you who think you can spend the next two years ramming through every liberal BS agenda you want will get a really rude awakening in 2022, followed by Biden and Kamala going bye bye in 2024. You ignore the reality of 75 million voters at your own peril....but, please, go ahead and do it.

Al Chavez

Dream on, Khal and Emily, dream on. New Mexico at least will stick with Biden and Harris. And fortunately a lot of those who supported Trump are finally seeing the light. Trumpism is dying. A more rational and compassionate order is on the way. The big lie is over.

Russell Scanlon

I’ll just repeat what I heard in January 2017 as millions (including myself) marched PEACEFULLY in the Million Women march: “You lost. Get over it”. TRump and the GOP made absolutely no attempt to reconcile with the MAJORITY of Americans who had voted against him. In fact they began immediately ramming through legislation that criminalized immigrants and threw their kids in prisons. And of course: “the wall”. And I don’t want to hear your BS about how Obama did it too—he didn’t.

I swear—you guys seem smart and I’m sure I would enjoy y’alls company over a beer or a coffee—but sometimes your memories are awfully selective.

Russell Scanlon

My comment was directed to Mr. Johnson—to whom I would still extend the offer to beer or coffee.

Sorry for the confusion. These are difficult times and i don’t want to add to it.

I am a boomer who has also been a lifelong supporter (with reservations) of the Democratic Party.

Mike Johnson

Mr. Scanlon, we have much in common then, I too am a lifelong Democratic Party member, but of the moderate/conservative variety that is totally unwelcome in today's NM DP. And it might amuse you to know my great grandfather, a delegate to the 1910 NM Constitutional Convention that wrote the Constitution of this state to qualify for statehood (Happy 109th B-Day NM) was the only Socialist Party member in that group.

Russell Scanlon

Now THERE’S something interesting to talk about! As a recent arrival to this area, I have no experience or opinion about the local Democratic Party. I would probably be considered “moderate” in the days before FOX news began moving the goalposts, but I find myself increasingly labeled and drawn to policies now considered “progressive” or even “socialist”. Whatever. Labels are useless. What we really need is hard working people with integrity and those have been in short supply in politics.

Mike Johnson

That Mr. Scanlon, we can totally agree upon. Too many politicians in both parties and statesmen and women are as scarce as hen's teeth.

Cleve Spence

The Round House protestors are one and the same as those traitors in DC...they no longer believe in democracy !

Spencer Ralston

They drank the Kool-Ade. Idiots.

Sheri VS

Not a single shred of voter fraud evidence, only their feelings. How very childish!

Stefanie Beninato

Antonio Martinez of Albuquerque thinks Biden is incoherent. What does he think about Trump who has the vocabulary of a third grader and who cannot complete a full sentence. As for the man in the wheelchair who helps vets in Deming, exactly what are your concerns? Talking about "concerns" without being specific sounds like an alt right meme. Get some proof about the problems with the election in NM or stop whining. JOE BIDEN WON.

Susan Williams

These people call themselves “patriots,” but in fact they are all traitors and seditionists.

Cleve Spence

You nailed it!

Angel Ortiz

Wow! Looked like a total circus. Complete with the clowns in camo and assault rifles. Cowboys for Trump on horseback. Too bad it is too late to invoke the 25th amendment and remove Trump from office. Really glad I don't live in the downtown area anymore as it really seems to attract the lowest level of humanity.

Jim Klukkert

SFNM apparently took down all comments on the story regarding the storming of the US Capitol.

⁄¡El SFNM no tiene conejos! My goodness, just when we need a free press, they evaporate!

Khal Spencer

Wow. That is not right. The comments were not that bad, except for one guy who said "mow them down". Maybe that did it..

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup]

Jim Klukkert

The comments on the story regarding the storming of the US Capitol were back up this evening. A lot of comments were deleted, and I keep getting emails that comments were posted, but they do not seem to ever get there.

Russell Scanlon

It’s great to see folks trying to make false equivalences or score debating points while our country is overrun by Fascists.

Richard Irell

Here’s hoping that it will turn into a super spreader event.

Mike Johnson

Yes, all protests are stupid and pointless, as this one or any of the numerous BLM, Native American activists, etc. have been, as nothing changes. But, since the legislature was not in session, it limited the scope and has little comparison to the DC protests. If our legislature had been in session, that might have made it a whole different ball game.....

Jim Klukkert

Thought that folks might want to see this from Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb, courtesy of the 'failing' NYT:

Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, was unsparing in his criticism of President Trump as the instigator of the day’s events.

“Today, the United States Capitol — the world’s greatest symbol of self-government — was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard — tweeting against his vice president for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution,” he said in a statement.

“Lies have consequences,” he continued. “This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the president’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”

He added: “Americans are better than this: Americans aren’t nihilists."

Khal Spencer

Heard that on NPR. Been glued to the radio all day.

rodney carswell

I recommend Washington Post's live online coverage--very reduced affect broadcast, just straight reporting and coverage without all the shiny bits. They were also a calm relief covering the Georgia returns last night.

Khal Spencer

NPR has been covering it continuously, too with pretty good coverage. I checked the NY Times around lunch time to see what happened with the Ossoff v. Perdue race and the headline was the DC riots. Turned on the radio and started popping antacids.

Mike Johnson

Thanks for that one Jim, Sen. Sasse is a true conservative, not a valueless and immoral buffoon like Trump. However, the politicians need to understand we are their masters and bosses, not the way they see it. They should be respectful of what the people say and do, as the people are our greatest symbol of self-government, not some building where politicians reside and dictate to the people. Buildings can be fixed, people ignored by politicians cannot be.

Khal Spencer

[thumbup]

Richard Reinders

[thumbup][thumbup]

Richard Irell

There was once a time when the Republicans advertised themselves as the party of law & order and fiscal responsibility. Obviously, the GOP no longer stands for those things. So what in the world does this now pathetic political party stand for?

Comment deleted.
Emily Koyama

DUMB post!

Jeff Clark

Bunch of sore losers

Donato Velasco

people have right to peacefully protest unlike BLM and other groups...

Jim Klukkert

I believe all folks have a right to protest peacefully Donato Velasco, including folks who believe Black Lives Matter. That's part of our Constitutional Rights.

[Shame that folks like you don't believe Black Lives Matter]

Terrorists like those who stormed and vandalized the US Capitol today, should be locked up. ¿Right Donato?

Richard Irell

Don’t you get it? Only Black folks are violent. The only legitimate elections are the ones in which the Republican wins. Deficits only matter when a Democrat is in the WH. Etc., etc.

Donato Velasco

there are no terrorist in the usa just patriots and they all have the right to voice their opinion, but we have finally joined the civilized world..

Khal Spencer

DC was not a peaceful protest. It was a riot. Which is why I oppose all this sort of "take the law into your own hands" nonsense.

Mike Johnson

I don't know Khal, it seems to have more in common with the obelisk protest than any BLM looting, arson, rioting attacking police, etc. The capital police let them in the Capital, they did not attempt to stop them very vigorously. A woman Trump protestor was killed by police however, for not following their orders while inside.

Khal Spencer

I thought the Obelisk protest was an analogy albeit at a much lower level in terms of violence and threat to civil government. But as I said somewhere or other, what's good for the liberal goose is good for the conservative gander. We all need to respect process rather than go off the rails.

Richard Irell

I have no sympathy for the obelisk rioters, etc, but at least they were not trying to destroy our democracy/republic.

Khal Spencer

I made that point, Richard, if your comment was aimed at me.

Khal Spencer

"...A raucous but peaceful crowd of about 200 to 300 people gathered at the Roundhouse early Wednesday afternoon in support of President Donald Trump..."

Yes, Donato, I appreciate that the protestors at the Roundhouse, who I disagree with, behaved peacefully, support their right to protest as they did, and I hope we and they can work together in keeping this Republic functioning.

Lorene Mills

It is imperative that State Police enforce our state laws mandating the wearing of MASKS! At this rally, NOW!

Molly Mix

😂😂😂

Comment deleted.
Khal Spencer

Matches, meet gasoline.

Khal Spencer

So do you think the City will tell the police to stick around this time?

Jim Klukkert

Khal- The Roundhouse is secured by the State Police, not our City cops.

Khal Spencer

Surprised there is not joint jurisdiction, but thanks.

Khal Spencer

From part of Mayor Webber's press release:

"...Yesterday’s protest and counter-protest at the Roundhouse, thankfully, did not descend into violence. Credit for that goes to our law enforcement agencies who were fully prepared. The Santa Fe Police Department, coordinating closely with the State Police and County Sherriff’s office, enabled New Mexicans to exercise their constitutionally protected right to assemble and demonstrate, while preserving the safety of the people of Santa Fe and the security of the State Capitol."

So the SFPD was involved.

Mike Johnson

Or at least Webber is taking credit for it......meanwhile, in DC, from the AP: "Three days before the pro-President Donald Trump riot at the Capitol, the Pentagon asked the U.S Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower. And as the mob descended on the building Wednesday, Justice Department leaders reached out to offer up FBI agents. The police turned them down both times, according to a defense official and two people familiar with the matter."

Emily Koyama

Reports were, that "five or six" SFPD Officers were present...certainly not enough to deal with 300 people had things gone sideways (like the Obelisk/Plaza fiasco.) Things remained calm because the people at the rally did not engage in violence....not because Webber did anything. Tooting his own horn, how pathetic.

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