'Not my president': Thousands protest Trump in rallies across the US

By Matea Gold

Tensions across the country are high with demonstrations against Trump’s election victory set to grow, writes Matea Gold.
Protesters march North on State Street to express their disapproval of the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Photo / AP
Protesters march North on State Street to express their disapproval of the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Photo / AP

Nationwide demonstrations against the election of Donald Trump showed no signs of petering out soon as they spilled into a second night yesterday.

Thousands of protesters surrounded Trump's buildings in New York and Chicago and clashed with supporters of the President-elect in some areas.

Condemning Trump's litany of crude comments about women and his attacks on immigrants, demonstrators marched along city streets, blocked intersections, burned effigies and, in some places, gathered outside buildings bearing Trump's name.

"Not my president," chanted some of the protesters, while others waved signs with the same message.

The protests earned recriminations from Trump, who met with President Barack Obama at the White House yesterday. "Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting.

Very unfair!" Trump said on Twitter.

It was his first comment about the protests and one of few statements he has made since claiming victory over Hillary Clinton on Wednesday.

At least 100 people, most of them in New York, were arrested on Thursday during the first wave of national protests, according to police officials. While most of the demonstrations remained peaceful, police in Oakland, California, said a rally there turned violent when some in the massive crowd injured three police officers by throwing rocks and fireworks at them.

The unrest underscored the fractures in a country that awoke on Thursday to learn that Trump had pulled off an unexpected victory over Clinton, his Democratic opponent, and more were planned for the weekend.

Demonstrations started yesterday in the biggest US cities - New York, Los Angeles and Chicago - and flared in places from Portland and Seattle to Philadelphia and Richmond, along with cities in red states such as Atlanta, Dallas, Omaha and Kansas City. The continued as the day wore on, spreading to Baltimore where police said about 600 "anti-Trump" protesters marched to the downtown area and blocked streets. Two protesters, they said, were held but not charged.

Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event. Photo / AP
Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event. Photo / AP

Most of the major demonstrations took place in urban centres in blue states Clinton won on Wednesday, highlighting the demographic divide that shaped the election results.

Clinton's apparent narrow victory in the popular vote, coupled with her loss in the electoral tally, spurred demonstrators in New York to chant, "She got more votes!" as thousands massed in front of Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. The crowd stretched several blocks down Fifth Avenue.

Yesterday, former former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani called the people protesting "a bunch of spoiled crybabies". "We're bringing up a generation of spoiled crybabies," Giuliani, a Trump adviser who has been touted as a possible attorney general, said on Fox News.

Apparently referencing protests happening at college campuses, Giuliani said: "Most of the kids aren't crying. Most of the kids are going to class."

At one point on Thursday, a protester in Los Angeles was interviewed on CNN and spoke about how "there will be casualties on both sides", language that was condemned by Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump's campaign manager.

Donald Trump's supporters cheer at a rally. Photo / AP
Donald Trump's supporters cheer at a rally. Photo / AP

In Florida, Trump supporters spilled out of an Irish bar yesterday to confront the hundreds of protesters making their way through the brick-paved district of Ybor City, the historic epicentre of the Cuban community in Tampa. Some of the Trump supporters, still holding their beers, stood within inches of the protesters, shouting "USA, USA". Other hurled vulgarities at the crowd.

Local police swarmed the area to separate the groups.

Nearby, a retired Marine Corps corporal, Kyle Mullinax, stood at attention as protesters walked by. The protesters are "stupid", he said.

In Chicago, Jessica Orman, 24, said she is dismayed by the people who voted for Trump and feels that her future is on the line. "I see people differently now. I don't smile at people on the street anymore. Because you never know," she said.

"I'm so jaded, but we have to fight. We have to protest. I can vote because people protested. I can be on the pill because people protested. Gay people have rights because people protested," she said.

Orman currently earns about the minimum wage and said she had hoped that if elected Hillary Clinton would have raised the minimum wage. Now, she said, her financial prospects could get worse. "The economy could go belly up."

Demonstrators at Texas State University in San Marcos make their feelings known. Photo / AP
Demonstrators at Texas State University in San Marcos make their feelings known. Photo / AP

Tensions ran particularly high on college campuses. At American University in Washington, students burned American flags, and some shouted, "F*** white America!"

During his victory speech on Wednesday, Trump spoke about reconciliation following the bitter campaign, saying that it was "time for America to bind the wounds of division". This tone was echoed by Clinton and President Barack Obama, who said they were disappointed after an Election Day that ended with Republicans in control of both the legislative and executive branches of government.

Clinton said the campaign showed that "our nation is more deeply divided that we thought," but she told her supporters: "We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead."

But the anger and grief that continued yesterday suggested that many fear what Trump's election means going forward.

In Philadelphia, an estimated 1000 protesters filled the streets chanting slogans such as "We reject the president-elect", and "hands too small, can't build a wall".

"I feel very dark about the future," said Janette Chien, 27, of Philadelphia, who voted for Hillary Clinton.

Chien, a first-generation immigrant whose parents were born in China, said Trump's hostility toward immigrants troubled her. Since Wednesday's election, Chien said watching her like-minded friends meltdown on Facebook had been gruelling. "It's just been horrible and exhausting," said Chien, who works in afterschool programs with children. "We need to fight. If we don't do anything, it's just going to continue this way."

- Washington Post

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