NEW YORK: Supporters of Democrat Joe Biden banged pots, honked their car horns and set off fireworks across US cities after their candidate captured the US presidency in a narrow win over President Donald Trump.
Minutes after major television networks declared Biden the winner following four nail-biting days since the Nov 3 election, people streamed to the White House to celebrate outside a security fence as the sound of booming fireworks was heard in the distance.
In nearby Dupont Circle, several hundred people formed a parade, playing music, singing and dancing and marched towards the White House to the sound of honking horns and clanging cowbells.
Loud cheers erupted in the halls of the hotel where Biden aides are staying. "Worth every minute" of the wait, a Biden aide said. Campaign staff exchanged elbow bumps and air hugs in the hotel lobby.
In the New York borough of Brooklyn, cars honked and people pumped their fist and cheered on the street.
"The nightmare is over," said Andrew Ravin, 45, while his neighbour Kenneth Henry, 51, said, "We can breathe again."
Shouts, cheers and fireworks sounded in the Atlanta's Democratic stronghold East Atlanta Village neighbourhood as word spread that Biden was named the winner.
Emmi Braselton, 37, a freelance graphic designer of Atlanta, was walking her two-year-old daughter Sylvie, who asked: "What's all that Mommy?" Braselton said.
"I told her, the good guy won. And also, now there'll be a woman as vice president. And she told me, 'I want to be president.'"
In Maine, a band playing at a farmers’ market broke into the Battle Hymn of the Republic. In Louisville, Kentucky, Biden supporters gathered on their lawns to toast with champagne.
Trump’s supporters have for days been protesting outside of ballot-counting operations, alleging without evidence that the slow-moving results were proof of cheating. But on Saturday morning, it was the Democrats taking to the streets in jubilant displays, celebrating what was for them an end to four years of constant crises, chaos and anxiety.
“It’s surreal, I feel like I’m free from the clutches of evil,” said Lola Faleit, a 26-year-old human resources manager in New York City. “I feel less worried for my immigrant friends. In 2016, we woke up crying. Today we are celebrating. Look, the sky is clear blue, the sun is out, Mother Nature is celebrating too.”
Retired teacher and school principal Kay Nicholas, 73, was vacuuming in her home northwest of Detroit when she heard Biden had been declared the winner.
“All I could say is ‘thank God,’” she said, choking up. “It has nothing to do with Democrat or Republican. It has to do with decency. This country has got integrity and hopefully we can get decency. I think Joe Biden can do it and bring back kindness.”