By Edward Helmore on November 12, 2016
Protests against the election of Donald Trump continued across the US on Saturday. In New York, where peaceful marches along downtown streets have taken place since Wednesday – the day after Trump’s shock presidential election victory over Hillary Clinton – more than 10,000 people indicated on Facebook that they would attend a noon march from
Union Square to Trump Tower, the future president’s home and corporate headquarters.
As marchers mustered at East 17th Street and Broadway, organizers estimated the turnout at 2,000. As the march began to move, however, the true figure seemed closer to the promised 10,000.
Chanting “Not my president!”, the crowd set off up Fifth Avenue under heavy police escort. A call-and-response developed, protesters chanting: “Whose streets? Our streets!”
Marcher Kim Peterson, 41 and a Brooklyn stay-at-home mom, said: “He may have won the election but I will never accept what he stands for or his beliefs, not for myself or my children.”
Denise Mustafa, a video editor holding a sign that read “Adolf Trump”, said: “I want Donald Trump to know democracy is not going to be pushed aside. I want him to know we’re educated about what’s going on. This is a way to vent our anger in a healthy way and to let people know it’s not hopeless.”
Robin Perl, an environmentalist, focused on the quirk of the US electoral system which saw Clinton win the popular vote but lose in the electoral college.
“This march will bring into focus that we want,” Perl said. “One vote, one person. At the moment, someone’s vote in Minnesota is worth four times what mine is. This is the second time in 16 years [after Al Gore in 2000, against George W Bush] a Democrat has won the popular vote but lost the electoral college. There were so many irregularities in this election that have to be looked at.”
In remarks reported by Politico, Clinton and her campaign’s head of opinion research were reported to have blamed her defeat on two letters to Congress from FBI director James Comey, concerning the candidate’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.
Outside Trump’s gaudy Fifth Avenue skyscraper, protester Margot Borske, 61, a nurse practitioner, told the Guardian: “We can continue to make our protest heard for every piece of legislation, every cabinet appointment, every amendment he tries to overturn [to] set this country back 50 years.
“We will protect civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, the environment and world peace. And we will protect the stabilization of our economy as global, diverse and multicoloured.”
Inside, restaurant staff said business had picked up – “almost doubled”, according to one – since election night. Although heavy security ringed Trump Tower, the building’s lobby, which has become a temporary home for journalists awaiting information from and sightings of members of Trump’s transition team, was open to the public.
At 11.50am, excitement briefly flared as Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, picked by some pundits as a future White House chief of staff, was seen in an elevator. Later, UK Independence party leader Nigel Farage was seen to enter the building.
Some visitors said the election result had prompted their interest. “While we’re here, we thought we must go see Trump Tower,” said Virginia Oshida from Baltimore, in the city to catch a Broadway show.
A Trump supporter, Oshida said she found protests against the president-elect “unfortunate”. “The protesters should just accept the result and get on with it,” she said.
In Portland on Friday night, a protester was shot and injured, not life-threateningly, after a confrontation. On Saturday, police said they had detained four people, believed to be gang members. The incident came after a day of peaceful rallies. After nightfall, instances of vandalism and assault were reported.
Protesters also took to the streets across California after night fell, including in downtown Los Angeles, where more than 200 were arrested a night before. Activists nationwide expressed determination to build momentum ahead of Trump’s inauguration, in Washington on 20 January.A “million women” march on the capital was planned for inauguration day, focused on Trump’s alleged mistreatment of women. Leftwing groups were also making plans for protests, according to flyers circulating online.
Patrisse Cullors, a founder of Black Lives Matter, said the movement was “grieving and mourning” and vowed to build “something bigger and stronger than the hate Trump and his team have exhibited towards marginalized communities”.
“It’s not that we’re sore losers,” Ashley Lynne Nagel, a Bernie Sanders supporter who voted for Hillary Clinton, told the Associated Press after a march in Denver on Thursday.
“It’s that we are genuinely upset, angry, terrified that a platform based off of racism, xenophobia and homophobia has become so powerful and now has complete control of our representation.”
Official efforts to lessen anger have increased. In interview excerpts released on Friday, Trump called Clinton “gracious”, and said the call he received from her on election night “could not have been nicer”.
“So Hillary called and it was a lovely call, and it was a tough call for her, I mean, I can imagine,” Trump said in the interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes that will air in full on Sunday.
Trump also described his opponent, whom he previously threatened to send to jail, as “very strong and very smart”. He added: “She couldn’t have been nicer. She just said, ‘Congratulations, Donald, well done.’ And I said, ‘I want to thank you very much, you were a great competitor.’”
At Trump Tower on Saturday, Brian Lee, a Trump voter from Syracuse, New York, said that though “it was very much a surprise he won”, he thought “they should reform the electoral college”.
The protests, Lee said, “were just people trying to cause a stir”. “It’s not going to change anything,” he said.
In a tweet late on Thursday, Trump blamed protests against his victory on “professional protesters, incited by the media” and said such marches were tarnishing his electoral success, which he said was “very unfair”. After intense criticism, he said in a second post that he appreciated the “passion for our great country” shown by demonstrators.
Democratic leaders sought to direct anger to positive ends. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren urged disappointed supporters to focus their anger on volunteer work and outreach programs. She and Sanders argued that Clinton’s loss could be attributed to her reluctance to fully focus on economic inequality.
“The final results may have divided us,” Warren told the AFL-CIO on Thursday. “But the entire electorate embraced deep, fundamental reform of our economic system and our political system.
“Working families across this country are deeply frustrated about an economy and a government that doesn’t work for them.”
The head of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, told the Guardian Clinton lost because her campaign neglected Latino voters.
Source: The Guardian