WASHINGTON: Protesters rallied across the United States to express shock over Donald Trump’s election victory, vowing to oppose divisive views they say helped the Republican billionaire win the presidency.
In Washington, several hundred protesters gathered in front of the White House for a candlelight vigil on a damp, chilly evening, criticizing what they called Trump’s racism, sexism and xenophobia, and carrying signs reading “We have a voice!” and “Education for all!”
One of the organizers, Ben Wikler — Washington director of the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org — told the crowd that others were coming together in hundreds of communities around the country.
“People are justly frightened,” he said.
“We are here because in these darkest moments we are not alone,” he added before leading chants of “We are not alone!”
Ethan Miller of the workers’ rights group Jobs with Justice said organizers held the vigil to show that civil society was resilient.
“It’s a hard time for a lot of Americans,” he told AFP. “We saw a campaign that was filled with racism and misogyny and whole host of other terrible tactics that ultimately were successful for winning the electoral college.”
“But we’re not going to let a Donald Trump presidency stop the progress in this country,” he added.
“We’re going to continue to organize and fight for the rights of all people and to protect the safety of our brothers and sisters.”
Supporters attending the rally appeared less optimistic.
Joanne Paradis, 31, who was born in Mexico and works in international communications for a non-profit group in Washington, said she attended the rally to “share some solidarity.”
“I feel pretty down,” she said. Asked if the country could weather a Trump presidency, she said, “I don’t know.”
“But we have to acknowledge what happened to deal with it, to face it and talk about it and be honest about it.”
“I just came here to mourn,” said Chris Hassan, 28, who works for a civil society group.
Protests also were held in other cities across the country, gathering thousands of people in Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, Seattle and other cities.
In New York City, protesters gathered in Union Square holding signs saying “Love Trumps Hate” and “Trump Grabbed America by the Pussy!” before marching uptown in the thousands to chant in front to Trump Tower.
“The electoral college is broken,” protester Nicholas Forker said of the US indirect voting system. “I think it definitely needs to be reformed… I think it’s ridiculous.”
Some of the protests started out with hundreds of demonstrators but soon swelled to thousands.
In California, high school and college students staged campus demonstrations and walkouts from classes.
In Los Angeles, hundreds of teens and young adults rallied outside City Hall chanting “Not my president!”
In Oregon, demonstrators blocked traffic in downtown Portland, forcing a delay on two light-rail lines.
The crowd there grew to about 300 people, local reports said, including some who sat in the middle of a road to block traffic. Others burned American flags.
In Pennsylvania, hundreds of University of Pittsburgh students marched through the streets, with some in the crowd calling for unity.
The rallies followed protests overnight on Tuesday as voting results were being tallied, when at least one person was seriously injured in Oakland, California, where demonstrators broke store windows and set garbage alight. AFP