Protesting Trump from day one
report from New York City as thousands show their anger with the president-elect on the first day after the presidential election.
EVEN AS rain began to pour down in the evening after Election Night, thousands of people in New York City turned up to protest Donald Trump and his rise to the presidency.
Various marches snaked through lower and midtown Manhattan. Every half hour or so, two marches would collide and erupt in joyous shouts of solidarity before continuing on together. While some marches began on the sidewalks, by the end of the night, they had taken over the streets.
When protesters waded into Broadway, they met support from car drivers honking their horns, bus drivers raising their fists and people shouting from upper floors of office buildings and apartments. Hundreds of vehicles were deserted in the streets as drivers joined the march.
As the march went down Sixth Avenue, people came out from retail stores to watch and film protesters chanting, "We demand impeachment!" and "Racist, sexist anti-gay! Donald Trump, go away!" Other onlookers chanted along, at first hesitantly, then confidently, as the demonstration marched in defiance of the racist, Islamophobic bigot who will soon become president.
New Yorkers were not alone in rejecting Trump. While Democrats from Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren were calling on supporters to unite behind Donald Trump, protests were erupting across the country.
Thousands took over the downtown streets in Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles, and there were big protests at universities from California to Massachusetts. There were high school walkouts in Arizona and Iowa--two states where Trump won a majority--as well as Berkeley High School in California, where 1,500 students--half the student body--participated.
In Washington, D.C., chants of "No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!" rang out as an impromptu march of several hundred people met another large group of people at Trump's new luxury Pennsylvania Avenue hotel. After such a devastating Election Night, people were inspired to chant, talk and speak out about what they think happened and what we need to do next.
The anger was directed not just at Trump and everything he stands for, but the Democratic Party machine whose response to Trump's campaign slogan of "Make America great again" was "America has always been great." As one speaker put it, "Donald Trump's white nationalist economy should have been on the ballot against a social economy. We weren't able to have that vote because the Democratic Party didn't allow us to have that choice."
"The GOP was able to split white workers from having any solidarity with workers of color so here we are," said Melanie from Capitol Heights. "It's not about Hillary Clinton. It's about the Democratic machine and the way they ran their candidate of choice through the system. So we see that the liberal elites were out of touch as we have known."
Melanie said she came to the event that night because "I couldn't stop thinking about it. I was at work, and I couldn't stop crying. This is a scary time, and I wanted to be around people who felt the same so I can express my frustration and anger."
"I felt like all my dreams died," said Jose. "Whatever is in my hands to do, I'm going to do it."
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AT THE New York protests, one of which was called by a coalition of activists and the other by Socialist Alternative, the atmosphere was joyful and defiant. People seemed excited to be on the streets again, unified.
The many dozens of movements that marchers came from were reflected in the chants: "Black lives matter" led to "Muslim lives matter," then "Disabled, trans and immigrant lives matter," each one louder than the last.
Often times several chants could be heard at once from different places in the crowd: "Not my president," "Her body, her choice," "We won't let Trump spread his hate, We won't let him legislate," "Whose streets? Our streets!" "From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go!" "We reject the President-elect!'
One person was heard saying, "He's asking it for it with this enormous tower in the middle of Manhattan. I mean what kind of maniac builds a tower like this and names it after themselves?" Another said, "I can't believe this asshole is going to be president."
Others took the chance to ridicule Trump. One protester held a sign that read, "Go green, not orange."
When the march reached Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, it was blocked in all directions. The police had set up barricades in front of the tower--five giant trucks filled with dirt that stood in front of the entrance, barring people from reaching the sidewalks. Entire blocks were barricaded, from 58th Street for as far as the eye could see.
At first, people were frustrated because it was impossible to move. But protesters' spirit stayed high. They sang and chanted, and at one point, everyone raised their middle fingers towards Trump Tower and a beautiful, defiant chorus of "Donald Trump, fuck you!" rang out.
There was a heavy police presence, with many undercover cops and dozens of police cars, vans and buses. But being on the streets together allowed protesters to begin overcoming the immediate shock of Trump's victory and look ahead to the fight that awaits us.
There was a sense of defiance and determination to not give an inch to Trump's bigotry, block him from carrying out his agenda in any way we can and show those emboldened by him that we will fight back.