Thousands take to the street in protests
LOS ANGELES: A day after Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, campaign divisions appeared to widen as many thousands of demonstrators – some with signs declaring “NOT MY PRESIDENT” – flooded streets across the country to protest his surprise triumph. From New England to heartland cities like Kansas City and along the West Coast, demonstrators bore flags and effigies of the president-elect, disrupting traffic and declaring that they refused to accept Trump’s victory.
Flames lit up the night sky in California cities Wednesday as thousands of protesters burned a giant papier-mache Trump head in Los Angeles and started fires in Oakland intersections. Los Angeles demonstrators also beat a Trump piñata and sprayed the Los Angeles Times building and news vans with anti-Trump profanity. One protester outside LA City Hall read a sign that simply said “this is very bad.” Vishal Singh, 23, said he was disappointed with voters who supported a man he sees as anti immigrant and anti-LGBT.
“I expected better of my electorate,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I thought this country was different.” Late in the evening several hundred people blocked one of the city’s busiest freeways, US 101 between downtown and Hollywood. More than a dozen people were arrested as officers in full riot gear walked the protesters off the freeway. In Orange County, about 10 people were arrested after three police cars were damaged during rallies in Santa Ana. To the north in Oakland, several thousand people clogged intersections and freeway on-ramps.
Nearby in Berkeley, more than 1,000 students walked out of high school classes Wednesday, brandishing anti-Trump signs and Mexican flags. The students tweeted #NotMyPresident and vowed to unify. In Chicago, where thousands had recently poured into the streets to celebrate the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series victory in over a century, several thousand people marched through the Loop. They gathered outside Trump Tower, chanting “Not my president!” Chicago resident Michael Burke said he believes the president-elect will “divide the country and stir up hatred.”
He added there was a constitutional duty not to accept that outcome. Police said that an estimated 1,800 to 2,000 people participated in the Chicago protests. Police reported five arrests, including two for obstructing traffic, but said there were no major incidents. A similar protest in Manhattan drew about 1,000 people. Outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in midtown, police installed barricades to keep the demonstrators at bay. Hundreds of protesters gathered near Philadelphia’s City Hall despite chilly, wet weather.
Participants – who included both supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and independent Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders, who lost to Clinton in the primary – expressed anger at both Republicans and Democrats over the election’s outcome. In Boston, thousands of anti-Trump protesters streamed through downtown, chanting “Trump’s a racist” and carrying signs that said “Impeach Trump” and “Abolish Electoral College.” Clinton appears to be on pace to win the popular vote, despite losing the electoral count that decides the presidential race.
The protesters gathered on Boston Common before marching toward the Massachusetts Statehouse, with beefed-up security including extra police officers. Hundreds also gathered in Providence, Rhode Island, and Portland, Maine. Since Tuesday night, there have been protest marches in the Midwest, including, St. Paul, Minnesota, Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri. Marchers protesting Trump’s election chanted and carried signs in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Media outlets broadcast video Wednesday night showing a peaceful crowd in front of the new downtown hotel. Many chanted “No racist USA, no Trump, no KKK.” Another group stood outside the White House. They held candles, listened to speeches and sang songs. In Richmond, Virginia, 10 people were arrested after protesters sat in travel lanes of the Downtown Expressway and refused to leave. Earlier, hundreds had gathered near Monroe Park and blocked the streets near Virginia Commonwealth University with some marchers chanting “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA.”
Dallas activists gathered by the dozens outside the city’s sports arena, the American Airlines Center. In Oregon, dozens of people blocked traffic in downtown Portland, burned American flags and forced a delay for trains on two light-rail lines. Hundreds massed in downtown Seattle streets. Many held anti-Trump and Black Lives Matter signs and chanted slogans, including “Misogyny has to go,” and “The people united, will never be defeated.” Five people were shot and injured in an area near the protest, but police said the shootings and the demonstration were unrelated.- AP