Winnipegger now in California concerned over tension, unrest due to U.S. election

WINNIPEG — A former Winnipegger living in the United States says the tension coming from the uncertain results of the United States presidential election can be felt in her city and is worried violence will happen.

Caitlin Rabyniuk, who now lives and works in Los Angeles, said in her neighbourhood leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, there has been a noticeable tension among businesses and residents.

“All of the businesses in my area are boarded up in anticipation of some possible unrest,” she said in a Zoom call with CTV News on Wednesday.

boarded up business

 (Source: Caitlin Rabyniuk)

She said if Trump is declared the winner of the 2020 election, there is definitely going to be rioting and protesting in her city.

“I hope that it is not the case, but if Trump wins people aren’t going to be happy at all because it looks like right now, Biden is leading,” Rabyniuk said.

As of 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden had received 264 electoral votes, compared to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has 214 according to the Associated Press. A candidate needs 270 Electoral votes to become president.

The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan to demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, and has asked for a recount in Wisconsin. The campaign is also seeking to intervene in a Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court that deals with whether ballots received up to three days after the election can be counted.

Michigan and Wisconsin were both declared for Biden on Wednesday. Pennsylvania and Nevada remain undecided.

Rabyniuk, who cannot vote in the U.S. as she only has a work visa, has been in the U.S. for eight years and can remember the 2016 presidential election where Trump pulled off a historic upset over Hillary Clinton.

“Everyone was thinking Hillary was going to win,” she said.

Despite living in one of the more liberal regions of the United States (California and its 55 electoral votes went to Biden), Rabyniuk said there are some pockets of Trump supporters in the city, who have held rallies in different neighbourhoods, including Beverly Hills, though she said the majority of the rally attendees were from outside the neighbourhood.

“There have been Trump rallies from the same crowd consistently every Saturday since about July,” she said. “Since they’ve been doing that, there has been a lot of tension in that area, due to counter-protesters coming in, and there has been some physical fighting as well.”

Rabyniuk said she has prepared in case any violence occurs in the coming days but is hoping things will resolve peacefully.

“I’ve stocked up my groceries for staying in for a week should something were to happen with the election, and if people deemed it to be unfair and not democratic,” she said. “I’ve stocked up and prepared to not leave the house for a week.”

boarded up business

A business is Los Angeles is boarded up ahead of potential unrest as a result of the U.S. Presidential election. The business has a “Black Lives Matter” mural drawn on the boards (Source: Caitlin Rabyniuk)

-With files from The Associated Press

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