Protesters marched in cities across the United States on Wednesday to protest against Republican Donald Trump’s surprise presidential election win, blasting his campaign rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims and other groups.
The anti-Trump activists launched the impromptu protests criticizing the racism, sexism and xenophobia that they say the president-elect has made mainstream.
Donald Trump’s unexpected election win ignited the protests, with thousands of demonstrators crowding into streets and surrounding his buildings in major American cities.
The Guardian reports that the protests – in cities including New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Philadelphia and Seattle – erupted after the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost the electoral college and presidential race on Tuesday night despite apparently winning the popular vote.
As US voters and international leaders began to come to terms with a Republican White House led by the former reality television star, people opposed to Trump on Wednesday took to the streets criticizing the racism, sexism and xenophobia that they say the president-elect has made mainstream.
As night fell in midtown Manhattan, people took over Sixth Avenue and marched by Trump Tower, carrying signs that read “Not my president”, “She got more votes” and “Hands off my pussy”, a reference to a leaked recording where Trump bragged that he could sexually assault women because of his fame. A number of arrests were made.
Protesters who had marched all the way from Union Square – some 35 blocks downtown – continued past Trump Tower, with a crowd congregating in front of the president-elect’s building.
“Fuck your tower! Fuck your wall!” people chanted at Trump Tower’s brass-escutcheoned facade, as scores of NYPD officers manned barricades, behind which stood eight department of sanitation trucks filled with dirt.
Nina, an actor living in Manhattan, told the Guardian that the protest felt less like a call-to-arms than a vigil for the promise of America.
“I’m distraught at the decision,” said Nina, who declined to share her surname for professional reasons. “He’s a horrible, horrible man, not the leader of the America I live in. Or the America I thought I lived in.”
Thousands also took to the streets in Chicago, a Democratic city that overwhelmingly supported Clinton according to initial polls.
Gathering for what activists called an “emergency Trump protest”, demonstrators virtually shut down the city during rush hour traffic as they shouted: “Trump is not my president.”
“I’m incredibly upset. I’m angry,” said Parker Smith as she held a sign stating “My Body, My Choice” outside the president-elect’s Chicago hotel tower. “This has been just a lot to deal with and I’m very worried for the next four years.”
While Chicago has gained international attention for these kinds of demonstrations in recent years – tied to the Black Lives Matter movement against police violence – Wednesday’s protests drew a diverse group of voters united in their anger at Trump.
Protesters stood their ground for hours outside the luxury building, chanting about issues including black lives, LGBT rights and women’s health.
“This is the America I identify with,” said protester Nicole Endenova, a young woman of color, as she stared at the crowds.
Some protesters waved a Mexican flag outside the tower while screaming “Fuck your wall”, referring to Trump’s controversial plan for a border barrier.
As helicopters followed the march from above, while police shielded Trump Tower, some protesters shouted, “We want a president, not a fucking racist!”
Several larger demonstrations throughout the day were led by high school and college students, including a massive walkout at a high school in Berkeley, California.
Protests first launched early on Wednesday morning on the west coast after Trump told his supporters in New York City that Clinton had called him to concede.
“People are fucking bummed. People are disgusted,” said Eddie Gutierrez, 33, who joined late-night protests in Oakland, California. “They’ve lost faith in the fucking system.”
Protests also launched in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Oregon and other states in regions throughout the US.
By evening on the west coast large rallies began to emerge in Seattle and Oakland, organized under the hashtag #NotMyPresident.
In Seattle, city councilwoman Kshama Sawant, a socialist politician and avid Bernie Sanders supporter during the presidential primaries, told a crowd of activists on Wednesday night that people should plan to disrupt Trump’s inauguration in January.
“We are going to shut it down,” she said.