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Some Americans dance, others wield guns at vote-tallying sites as Biden's lead solidifies

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Supporters of Joe Biden danced in the streets outside a ballot-counting centre in Philadelphia on Friday as the steadily growing vote tallies showed the Democratic former vice-president could soon be declared winner of the US presidential election.

[PHILADELPHIA] Supporters of Joe Biden danced in the streets outside a ballot-counting centre in Philadelphia on Friday as the steadily growing vote tallies showed the Democratic former vice-president could soon be declared winner of the US presidential election.

In Detroit, several hundred supporters of President Donald Trump, some carrying their guns, raised premature chants of "We won!" outside a counting center, despite it looking increasingly unlikely, though not impossible, that this would prove true.

Philadelphia appeared to relish its turn as the centre of the nation's attention, even if it was earned only by the relative slowness of its vote counting as the biggest city in the closely fought state of Pennsylvania.

It is one of a few pivotal states where the outcome of Tuesday's election was still too close to call, and Philadelphians delighted in parading past the assembled news cameras playing violins and trombones or dressed up in election-themed costumes.

Sean Truppo, a 37-year-old social studies teacher, said he lit fireworks upon awaking to the news that Mr Biden had overtaken Mr Trump, a Republican, in the state's count before putting his four-year-old daughter in a stroller to join the growing crowds outside the Philadelphia Convention Center.

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"My daughter was born under Trump and I wanted her to witness the end of Trump," he said.

Mr Biden has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to Edison Research. Winning Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes would give Mr Biden the 270 he needs to secure the presidency. He has already won the popular vote by some four million votes.

The nation has spent nearly three days staring at the slowly updating vote tallies on the news, or finding chores to distract themselves from the prolonged uncertainty.

A few, however, have taken to the streets, with Biden supporters cheering for poll workers to "count every vote", at times breaking into dance whenever someone turned up a Beyoncé or Missy Elliott song on loudspeakers.

Some Trump supporters, taking a cue from the president himself, insisted there must be something wrong with any count that showed Mr Biden winning, and brought their rifles and handguns with them to rallies outside counting centers in Detroit and Phoenix, Arizona. Dressed in the Trump-supporter uniform of "Make America Great Again" red baseball hats, some fell to their knees in public prayer.

"It's hard to believe that we all went to bed Tuesday night and Trump was so far ahead and now he's behind," George Vosca, a 72-year-old retired Illinois government employee, said after driving an hour to join a pro-Trump rally outside the Wisconsin State Capitol building in Madison.

His wife, Marcia Vosca, also voted for Mr Trump even as she acknowledged his flaws: "The thing is, he's really a jerk," Vosca, 64, said of Mr Trump, her husband nodding emphatically in agreement.

"But we can all relate to being a jerk."

RAISED FISTS AND JEERS

Most demonstrations have been peaceful and relatively small, though tensions have sometimes flared. Overnight in New York City, police pushed and shoved protesters, reporters and at least one elected official as they made arrests and tried to move anti-Trump demonstrations out of roadways.

In Detroit, a few anti-racism protesters rallying behind the Black Lives Matter slogan entered an area cordoned off by police for Trump supporters on Friday. Standing defiantly with fists in the air, Trump supporters, including armed members of militia groups, moved closer, jeering, before police intervened, leading the anti-racism protesters elsewhere.

Some pro-Biden observers gathered outside the police cordon.

One waved a sign that read: "Earth to losers, go home!" In Arizona, another closely contested state, a growing crowd of several hundred Trump supporters returned to the counting center in Phoenix from surrounding Maricopa County where some 142,000 ballots from early voting remained to be counted as of Friday morning.

Among them was Kota Bermudez, a 22-year-old driver for the online retailer Amazon, who braced for disappointment.

"I know he's kind of losing right now, especially in the battleground states," he said. "But I'm hoping that with all the legal things going on and all these mail-in ballots and so forth, whether they're legal or whatnot - I just want this to be a fair and free election."

REUTERS

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