Anti-Donald Trump protests erupt across US as cities declare billionaire 'Not My President'

Multiple arrests outside Trump Tower as thousands take NYPD by surprise

Click to follow
The Independent US

Protests swept across the US on Wednesday night, as people flooded cities to demonstrate against the election of Donald Trump as President and declared their refusal to accept the result.

A number of arrests were made as police tried to push people back from the entrance to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York. The billionaire’s larger-than-life brand became a focus for anger, as people also gathered outside Trump Tower in Chicago, chanting: “Not my President”.

After a victory speech in which Mr Trump vowed to be a leader for all Americans, the backlash to his election highlighted the raw divisions which flared up during the campaign.

While rural America voted overwhelmingly for Mr Trump, as many as 31 of the country’s largest 35 cities voted Democrat, and many of them saw demonstrations on some level.

Warning - some videos below contain strong language and swearing 

In Washington DC, a crowd massed outside a newly opened Trump hotel and others gathered at the White House.

Major protests also took place across the Hillary Clinton-supporting West coast, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, as well as in Philadelphia, Oakland and Portland.

In Seattle, hundreds marched through downtown streets, and panic erupted when a man opened fire on a crowd not far from anti-Trump protests, injuring five people including one critically.

Police said they believed the incident related to a personal argument, however, and was not linked to the protests. The suspect remained at large.

Demonstrators marched through Boston, from Boston Common to the Massachusetts State House, and there were smaller marches in St Paul, Richmond, Kansas City, Omaha and Austin.

But the largest outpouring of anger appeared to be in New York City, where thousands of people walked from Union Square to Trump Tower, before they were forced by police to move on to other Trump properties.

Causing massive gridlock, they held signs that read "Trump Makes America Hate" and chanted "hey, hey, ho, ho Donald Trump has got to go" and "Impeach Trump".

By Dina Rickman, in New York

Trump Tower sits somewhere between Prada, Armani and Gucci in New York’s Manhattan. On Wednesday night, the shutters were down on the designer shops and garbage trucks filled with sand, police officers and barricades were out to separate the President-elect’s New York home and campaign base from the thousands of angry protesters outside.

The crowd was extremely young, extremely diverse and extremely angry – and every one of them promised they weren’t going anywhere. As chants of “Donald Trump’s a piece of s***; he is not my president” rang out, protesters vowed to be back “tomorrow, and the next day and the next day… until he gets the f****** message”.

New York didn’t vote for Mr Trump, and the protesters The Independent spoke to tonight were keen to point out the majority of their country hadn’t either. For the first time in 15 years, and in perhaps the most important election for many more years, a Democrat had won the popular vote but lost the all-important electoral college. Laura, an immigrant to the US (3.21 on video below), explained:

“Whatever hole of emptiness this election left in me is now filled with anger. I became a citizen last year – this is my first election as a citizen… Now we have a legitimate f***face for President and I can’t stand it. It pisses me off.” Her message to Mr Trump? “Just die, I guess.” 

While any desire for violence was mostly talk, the anger was palpable among the protesters. At the first sign of trouble the crowd burst into chants of “peaceful protest”. Instead they were worried about possible violence from Trump supporters.

Colin, a 25-year-old New York native and gay man, arrived at the protest dressed as Harry Potter and holding a poster calling on Dumbledore’s Army to unite against Trump. The crowd loved the costume, chanting “use your magic, Dumbledore,” but he had a serious message behind the sign.  “I’m a gay man – me and my boyfriend are fearing for our lives,” he told The Independent. “With this election comes the possible takeaway of all my civil liberties.”

Much of the crowd was just as fearful as Colin. As Bianca, the daughter of immigrants explained, “My mum grew up in Northern California. She didn’t speak English until she was seven. Kids would tie her down, throw rocks at her and tell her to speak English. I’m seeing that type of behaviour popping up in articles now… I refuse to let another generation of kids go through that bulls***.”

'Disgusted at America'

In California, as well as in a handful of other states, students walked out of class to protest. More than 1,000 gathered outside Berkeley High School. 

Berenabas Lukas, a 15-year-old student who took part in the protest, told The Independent he felt less safe since Mr Trump had won. “I feel very disgusted at America,” he said, adding he found it difficult “to see that your life isn't valued as an African American teen”.

“[Having] a president that doesn't support Latinos or African Americans, who is racist, and who is going to run America for four years, maybe eight, is sickening.”

Anger seems to have been exacerbated by the fact that Hillary Clinton appears to have won the popular vote, by about 200,000 according to the latest 99.1 per cent complete count. 

Republicans claimed a mandate for the President-elect, and an emotional Hillary Clinton earlier told crestfallen supporters he deserved a "chance to lead".

President Barack Obama pledged a smooth transition of power, and has invited the man he had declared unfit for the presidency to the White House on Thursday.

"We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country," the President said of Mr Trump, who spent years questioning Mr Obama's birthplace and challenging the legitimacy of his presidency.

Mr Trump was uncharacteristically quiet in the aftermath of his triumph and made no public appearances on Wednesday. He huddled with jubilant advisers at his skyscraper in Manhattan, beginning the daunting task of setting up an administration that will take power in just over two months.

Hillary Clinton urges supporters to give Donald Trump a chance to lead

He also met Vice President-elect Mike Pence and took calls from supporters, family and friends, according to spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

In Washington, Mr Trump's transition team sprang into action, looking through personnel lists for senior jobs and working through handover plans for government agencies. Mr Trump was expected to consider several loyal supporters for senior jobs, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for Attorney General or National Security Adviser.

After struggling for months with Mr Trump's takeover of their party, Republican leaders embraced the businessman in victory.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was lukewarm in his support throughout the campaign, praised him for pulling off "the most incredible political feat I have seen in my lifetime". Mr Ryan said: "He just earned a mandate."

Indeed, Mr Trump will take office in January with Congress fully in his party's control, giving him strength to try to pass his agenda and turn the Supreme Court in a conservative direction. Even Republicans were stunned by the scope of their electoral success, including many who had been privately predicting Mr Trump's defeat.

Ms Clinton's emotions were raw as she addressed a crowd of supporters who gathered in a New York ballroom, her eyes wet with tears. She said the crushing loss was "painful and it will be for a long time" and acknowledged that the nation was "more divided than we thought".

Still, she was gracious in defeat, declaring: "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead."

Additional reporting by agencies

Comments