At first, the crowd outside the White House exhibited little of the political acrimony that has defined the presidential campaign.
As the night progressed, casual college students were joined by others. The atmosphere became more partisan and more vocal. Ultimately, massive demonstrations continued into the early hours Wednesday.
From a Black Lives Matters march to people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, chants echoed into the night air for several hours.
Students from George Washington, Georgetown, and American University said they wanted to be around the White House on a historic night.
“We just knew to come to the White House, and that there would be people here,” American University student Stephanie Kurse said.
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As clumps of students sat on the ground and chatted, the strong smell of marijuana sometimes wafted through the air.
They were later joined by other college-age students who linked arms and chanted the familiar “Black Lives Matter.” Two Howard University students said their protest had been planned for months.
“Howard University students are with Hillary Clinton,” said Samantha Corsey.
As Trump’s electoral advantage mounted, Desieree Knox became worried.
“This is scary,” she said.
Some in the crowd began making impromptu speeches condemning Trump’s campaign remarks. As more Trump supporters arrived, they began to make their voices heard.
Then came chants from both sides — polarizing, emotional, and at times obscene.
Clinton supporters proclaimed, “I’m with her” and dropped the “F” bomb in close proximity to Trump’s name.
Trump supporters countered with “Hillary for prison” and “Build a wall.”
But then, pockets of the crowd began singing the Star Spangled Banner — loudly, not at the same time, and slightly off-key.
The musical detente didn’t last long.
Some in the crowd began climbing the trees outside of the White House fence and led Clinton supporters in yet another profane chant.
Several hundred people nudged back and forth in front of fence. But there was no violence. The only obvious hazard was the risk of stepping on shattered glass from beer bottles covering the pavement.