In the wake of election results nearing certification and Georgia's runoff elections coming to an end, President Donald Trump supporters took to the State Capitol to rally in solidarity with Washington D.C. and other nationwide protests.
Hundreds of supporters gathered to protest election results, falsely asserting that the election has been "stolen" from Trump. The event on Facebook, titled "Occupy The Capitol for Trump—Austin," counted 221 people who said they would be there.
At the base of the Capitol, more than 200 people gathered clad with signs reading "stop the steal" or "hang traitors" and flags galore, and at the intersection of 11th Street and Congress Avenue.
People gathered in groups, mostly unmasked, listening to live country performers, chanting and praying.
Floridian Alicia Andrews, who is a native Texan, said she came to protest for democracy and freedom, and to bring power back to the people.
"I don't agree with the stealing of the election and the loss of freedom," Andrews said. "I think there has been a lot of things in play to take the power away from the people and turn it to the hands of the elites who see a better way. There is no voice of our people if the elections are stolen."
While protesters gathered near the Capitol building at first, Texas DPS troopers closed the grounds after people tried to storm inside, mimicking the chaos in D.C. What started as a protest outside the U.S. Capitol turned into a mob of pro-Trump supporters breaching through security barriers and through the building.
Pro-Trump protesters carrying flags march through the Capitol building, chanting "we want Trump," forcing a lockdow… https://t.co/6hQ0V6jYRV— ABC News (@ABC News)1609963415.0
The more time went on, the more violence ensued everywhere.
In Austin, fights were frequent and occurred both between the growing presence of non-Trump supporters and between people who were originally on the same side. Some Trump supporters began to leave, saying they didn't support the violence and yelling going on by the party they originally came to support. Some people in the area said the loud chanting of "f--- ANTIFA" became too much too handle.
One protester, who left before giving his name, said he didn't agree with the yelling and said he came to the event to have open conversations, not pick fights with people who didn't agree with him.
"I'm sick of not having dialogue—speaking," he said. "I'm from Austin, so I'm conservative, yes, but I'm open to anything. I just want us to come to something besides screaming and hollering over each other."
Crowds at the Texas Capitol began diminishing at around 4 p.m.
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Republic Square Park has turned into a Ford-themed fiesta for its Built to Connect pop-up experience, complete with test drives, off-roading and an inside look at the Tesla-rivaling electric vehicles that the motor vehicle company is planning to integrate over the next decade.
The outdoor driving event is free, open to the public and will stay in the park from now until Oct. 24, offering rides on Bronco Mountain, a 0-40 mph zip in the 2022 all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning and a chance to win an original Ford Bronco.
The event kicked off with a panel of speakers, including Austin Director of Transportation Rob Spillar, Ford General Manager Darren Palmer and engineering specialists discussing Ford's goals to make it so that 50% of the vehicles on the road are electric by 2030.
As an eco-conscious city, Spillar said that around 4,000 vehicles, or 22% of the Texas electric vehicle market, as well as over 15,000 plugins lie in Austin, meaning driving electric just got accessible.
"Austin, as you know, is a fast-growing modern city that is committed to protecting the long term health and viability of our communities and strategies that reduce greenhouse gases, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve the drone quality of life here in Central Texas for all of our residents," Spillar said.
And Ford's electric vehicles are putting up some steep competition for newly-Austin-based company Tesla. The new electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lighting offer amenities that used to be exclusive to Musk's brand, such as the BlueCruise self-driving network. The cars also boast a 300-mile range on a single charge, assisted reverse technology and access to the biggest charging network outside of the home.
Plus, Ford's got affordability on its side. The F-150 Lightning starts at $39,974 and the Mustang Mach-E starts at $42,895, while the cheapest Tesla model, the Model 3, starts at $41,990 and averages 262 miles on a single charge.
Speaking of price, the numbers on the electric vehicles may look like a little more than you'd like to pay for your transport, but Palmer promises it will pay off. In addition to a $7,500 tax credit you can earn for your sustainability, you'll never have to buy a pricey tank of gas again.
"Personally, I have not found one customer ever, who would go back to gas so that says something," Palmer said. "I realized, at $51,000, that car outruns every childhood hero car I ever had."
Texas buyers: take note. The Ford Lightning can power your house for three to 10 days, just in case the statewide power grid fails. You can take it glamping with you, so you don't have to leave the comfort of modern life behind, and in a pinch, Palmer said he's even seen a wedding party powered by the truck.
Ford is investing $30 billion into the U.S. market to meet demand by 2025 and the new electric truck already has over 150,000 reservations.
"I think they're going to take off much faster than you expect—they're going to be extremely, extremely popular next year," Palmer said. "With the incentives that are available today, this is starting to become more mainstream and viable for more and more families. We couldn't have done that before, we didn't have the technology, or the technology at that price."
The event is ongoing through next weekend from 12-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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The Austin Police Department is searching for a man who is believed to be behind a series of robberies that is "sexual in nature and is escalating."
Three robbery cases that took place in North Austin within a 30-day period are being investigated by police, who report the victims all had similar descriptions for suspects in the case. The suspect is described as a 20-25-year-old Spanish-speaking Hispanic man, approximately 5'3, thin build, recently shaved with black hair. Police say he is known to typically wear athletic clothing and used a knife on each of the victims.
Here's a breakdown of the cases:
1. At 7:56 a.m. on Sept. 22 at the 1600 block of Rutland Drive, a woman was walking alone and returning from her child's school when a suspect walking by inappropriately touched her. The suspect then grabbed her by the arm, threatened her with a knife and demanded "her property."
2. At 8:10 a.m. on Oct. 11 at 1700 block of Colony Creek Drive, a woman was walking to her child's school when a man approached her with a knife and then demanded her personal items. The suspect then said he would return the items in return for sex.
3. At 11:03 a.m. on Oct. 13 at the 9300 block of Northgate Boulevard, a woman was with her child in the laundry room of an apartment complex when a man walked in performing a sexual act. The suspect demanded personal items from the victim, threatening to hurt the victim and take her child.
Police cautioned the public to walk without earbuds, stay alert and report suspicious activity to the police.
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