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Northwest Florida Trump supporters join protesters at US Capitol

Nick Tomecek
Northwest Florida Daily News

A group of local Trump supporters traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in what they described as a protest in support of a fair election. However, the overall scene at the capital has devolved into chaos as some protesters rushed through police lines and entered the U.S. Capitol building.

Jason Harwell, of Fort Walton Beach, who traveled to D.C. and sent videos and photos of the protest, said he is planning to join the group at the Capitol building.

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"I believe people should support our president and help keep the integrity of our election. I think our nation needs to pause and evaluate the evidence," Harwell said in Facebook message shortly before heading to Constitution Avenue, which leads to the Capitol building.

At this time, it is unclear if any local people were among the group that stormed the building.

Two busloads of Trump supporters left Fort Walton Beach City Hall on Tuesday and 20 flew out of the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport on Wednesday morning to join the protest.

Anne Ziegenhorn, co-administrator of the I’m a Florida Trump Girl Facebook page and organizer of the Emerald Coast Florida Trump Flotilla on Sept. 5, said more than 60 people are joining fellow Trump supporters to exercise their First Amendment rights to assemble for a peaceful protest Wednesday as the Electoral College votes determining the next president are counted in a joint session of Congress.

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Among the group are members of the Okaloosa Republican Executive Committee, I'm a Florida Trump Girl and Santa Rosa County's Republican Executive Committee.

Okaloosa County Chairwoman Sandra Atkinson echoed Ziegenhorn’s reason for going.

“We are going to D.C. for the working-class families to guarantee a fair election process for generations to come,” Atkinson said. “As a veteran myself, I didn't fight for this country to have our rights to a fair election bypassed by corrupt politicians.”

Jason Harwell, of Fort Walton Beach, submitted this photo as he joins thousands of other protesters in Washington, D.C. to support President Trump

The members of the groups could not be immediately reached as chaos began to unfold Wednesday afternoon.

A segment of the crowd forced its way into the Capitol building, forcing Congress to halt its count of Electoral College votes.

Harwell said the group he traveled with broke apart into different groups earlier Wednesday and now a large group of police officers are gathering near him.

Protesters gather at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

"Some people say Trump's an upcoming dictator but I say he has been the best president our country has had in a very long time. I didn't vote for a politician, I voted for a businessman to drain the swamp and make America great," he said.

"I'm making my way to Constitutional Avenue to join the rest of the people at the Capitol building," Harwell added.

We will update this story as we receive more information.

Jason Harwell, left, of Fort Walton Beach poses with a fellow protester on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.