Updated at 6:32 p.m. ET
For nearly four days, tension mounted in American households as an anxious nation awaited the results of the presidential election. But in an instant on Saturday, that tension washed away.
It took only seconds after Joe Biden was declared the winner over President Trump for a divided country’s relief, frustration, anger and joy over the outcome to begin spilling into the streets.
In Washington, D.C., elated crowds gathered outside the White House, erupting in cheers that seemed as celebratory over Trump’s loss as they were over Biden’s victory.
“Goodbye!” sang the large crowd gathered in Black Lives Matter Plaza, directing their voices toward the White House. “Nah, nah, nah, nah, Goodbye!”
In Chicago, Kimmy Fuller was among the revelers who took over a street corner on the city’s North Side.
“Words can’t even express it. It’s a great day,” Fuller said, adding that the feeling of relief was overwhelming her. She said she had spent years dismayed over the president’s treatment of Black and brown Americans. “We need to be reunited. Because the racism is just too much. It’s so despicable.”
In Manhattan’s Times Square, hundreds gathered to wave U.S. flags and chant “no more years.”
Theresa Francis said she was thrilled that “sanity will be restored to the White House” and that Kamala Harris had been elected the nation’s first Black vice president.
Similar celebrations erupted in cities from Los Angeles to Boston, including in some of the swing state cities that are proving pivotal to Biden’s victory.
In Atlanta, intersections were overrun by impromptu dance parties that made way for cars parading by — their occupants craning their bodies out of passenger windows to wave Biden campaign flags.
And in Philadelphia, downtown streets were a cacophony of car horns and cheers as strangers celebrated with strangers. A jubilant crowd steadily swelled outside Independence Hall, which for days has been the site of a demonstration in support of counting every vote.
But in other areas of the city, animosity flared between Biden and Trump supporters. In northeast Philadelphia, dozens of police officers were reportedly called in to control the scene when an angry argument broke out, outside a planned pro-Trump press conference.
Indeed, the public jubilation expressed in the nation’s Democratic strongholds was matched by displays of dismay or defiance from Trump supporters in many parts of the country, many of whom have refused to accept the election’s results.
In Colorado Springs, Colo., several hundred Trump supporters gathered outside City Hall after driving in via caravans from Denver and other parts of the state. The crowd waved Trump flags, chanted “four more years” and let out loud cheers as speakers at the rally claimed the election had been stolen from President Trump.
“I will never accept Biden-Harris as my president,” said Ron Sauve, at a pro-Trump rally in Phoenix. “Not with this kind of cloud hanging over it.”
Some of the people around him, displaying pistols and long guns, demanded a redo of Arizona’s election.
Similar pro-Trump rallies formed in Salem, Ore., Albuquerque, N.M., and Nashville, Tenn.
In Boise, Idaho, Trump supporters staged a “Stop the Count” demonstration, echoing the president’s unsubstantiated claim that mail-in voting is fraudulent.
And in Alabama, the president’s supporters gathered outside the state Capitol to protest Biden’s victory, wave Trump flags and pray. One demonstrator vowed to keep protesting until “this is all over.”
NPR correspondents Cheryl Corley and Eric Westervelt, as well as Kyle Gassiott of Troy Public Radio and New York journalist Sally Herships contributed to this story.