Protesters took to the streets on Wednesday in at least 10 cities to march against president-elect Donald Trump – and numerous college students and faculty leaders took to social media to announce support groups and even postponed exams.
Protests were underway in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore., St. Paul, Minn. and several other cities. An estimated 2,000 protesters shouted angrily in downtown Seattle, expressing their frustration at the Trump victory over Democrat and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won 228 electoral votes to Trump’s 279.
Police in riot gear struggled to hold back scores of protesters in some of the cities as protesters chanted “Not My President” and “No Racist USA.” The protests were mostly peaceful. Seattle police said they were investigating a report of a shooting near the site of the protest in that city, but it may not have involved protesters.
In Los Angeles, protesters poured into the streets near City Hall and torched a giant Trump effigy, the Los Angeles Times reported. Later in the night, hundreds marched onto the busy 101 Freeway which brought the highway to a complete standstill. The California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department —who urged protesters to remain lawful and peaceful — responded and were seen leading demonstrators away from the busy highway. At least 13 people were later arrested, LAPD Officer Tony Im told the Los Angeles Times.
In Washington, D.C., hundreds took to the streets carrying signs saying “Nasty Women Fight Back” and “White Males for Equality for All.”
The unrest culminated when two separate anti-Trump demonstrations converged in front of the Trump International Hotel. They chanted and yelled “Impeach Donald Trump” and toward the end yelled at police officers who stood guard at the hotel entrance.
In New York, thousands of demonstrators blocked off streets around Trump Tower near the busy intersection of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, chanting “hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go” and “pu–y grabs back,” a reference to taped conversations of Trump making lewd commentary about women. One woman protester was topless while another climbed on top of a tree to see the activity. Taxis, city buses and passenger vehicles stood at a standstill.
“We’re (mad) so we’re out here in the streets,” said demonstrator Omar Aqeel, a 27-year-old film producer who lives in Brooklyn.
While he and other demonstrators said they were aware that protests could not reverse the election, they said they still felt it would have an effect on the future.
“I hope it rallies everyone together as a wake up call,” Aqeel said.
“I think there’s a chance for impeachment at the end of the day,” said protester Joey Henriquez, a 22-year-old student at the City College of New York, who lives in Manhattan. “We can’t let him have eight years.”
In Boston, thousands of anti-Donald Trump protesters streamed through downtown, chanting “Trump’s a racist” and carrying signs that said “Impeach Trump” and “Abolish Electoral College.”
In Chicago, several hundreds of protesters gathered near the Trump International Hotel and Tower to express their displeasure with the president-elect.
The protesters held signs with messages such as “Love Trumps Hate,” “Not My President” and expletive-laden repudiations.
Chloe Stratton, 33, a transgendered woman who moved to Chicago earlier this year, said she fears for what a Trump-Pence White House holds for the nation’s LGBT community.
Pence has opposed same-sex marriage and expressed support for shock therapy for people with same-sex attractions.
“I am terrified for my life,” said Stratton, who added that she has begun exploring options to move away from the U.S.
An estimated 6,000 protesters gathered Wednesday night in Oakland, Calif. Videos on social media captured fires erupting as the protests rolled on.
Just last week, the Democrat-controlled Chicago’s city council voted to remove honorary signage near Trump’s building, a rebuke for the president-elect’s blistering criticism of crime in the city while he was on the stump.
On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel insisted he did not fear that Trump would exact any payback on the city over the move.
“I’m not worried about Donald Trump trying to somehow penalize Chicago,” said Emanuel, who served as President Obama’s first White House chief of staff.
Earlier Wednesday, protesters at American University burned U.S. flags on campus.
In Oregon, dozens of people blocked traffic in downtown Portland, burned American flags and forced a delay for trains on two light-rail lines. Trump supporters taunted the demonstrators with signs. At one point, a lone Trump supporter was chased across Pioneer Courthouse Square and hit in the back with a skateboard before others intervened.
Across the country, universities and even a few high schools organized post-election civil disobedience of a different sort. Some teachers sent notes to students postponing tests and offering support. Student unions offered sessions of meditation, discussions and tea.
“The nation in which you currently reside decided last night to elect a president whose own words have painted him a moral and possibly physical hazard to many of us,” University of Maryland professor Alan Peel wrote to students, postponing all assessments. “I debated whether to press on today in the spirit of re-establishing normalcy, but have come to realize that my position and my background may have afforded me the privilege to do so. Others may find they do not have that privilege.”
“Partisan, inflammatory statements unfortunately seem to be part of modern campaign rhetoric, but they cause real wounds,” Northwestern University wrote in an email to students on Wednesday, reminding them to notify professors if they need to miss class. The email directed students to the campus Multicultural Center, the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center and The Black House, a gathering place for the university’s black community. Throughout the day the campus hosted a “What’s Your Reaction” event for students to express themselves by drawing pictures. They even provided the paper, markers and snacks.
The University of California, Berkeley created safe spaces for minority students, and for those who might be illegal immigrants. There are also special “healing spaces” for women and those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
“Be gentle with yourselves and take care of each other,” according to an email sent to Berkeley students from four of the university’s vice chancellors and others. “We know that the results of yesterday’s election have sparked fear and concern among many in our community; in particular our immigrant and undocumented communities, Muslim, African American, Chicanx/Latinx, LGBTQ+, Asian and Pacific Islander communities, survivors of sexual assault, people with disabilities, women, and many others.”
At the University of Vermont, administrators voiced a similar sentiment.
“This is a challenging time for many of our colleagues and students, who may be feeling isolated and concerned for personal welfare,” UVM president Tom Sullivan wrote in an email to the university community, offering time for tea and reflections, meditations and structured discussion.
The Boston Latin School, a high school in Boston, offered a support team of guidance counselors, clinicians, and nurses after school on Wednesday and before school Thursday for students who need support, according to an email sent to the school community.
Montgomery Blair High School in Maryland had an election debriefing with counselors during students’ lunch, according to a tweet sent by the school’s principal.
No deaths had been reported at press time but three policemen and one woman were said to have sustained serious injuries during the protests.