WASHINGTON, D.C.: Protesters burned a giant orange-haired head of Donald Trump in effigy, lit fires in the streets and blocked traffic lanes late Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) as rage over the billionaire’s election victory spilled onto the streets of US cities.
From New York to Los Angeles, thousands of people in around 10 cities rallied against the president-elect a day after his stunning win, some carrying signs declaiming “Not our President” and “Love trumps hate.”
If current tallies hold, Trump will have won the US presidential election while losing the popular vote, making him the second straight Republican commander-in-chief to do so – and likely raising calls for electoral reform.
Results were still trickling in on Wednesday as districts continued to count ballots including those from absentee voters.
Democrat Hillary Clinton was ahead of Trump in the popular vote by a razor-thin margin, 47.7 percent to 47.5 percent, or 59,689,819 votes to 59,489,637.
But because of the nature of the state-by-state winner-take-all Electoral College system, Trump prevailed by clinching a majority of the Electoral College’s 538 votes.
Trump won the US presidency with at least 290 electoral votes, securing more than the 270 he needed to succeed Barack Obama.
It was a crushing defeat for Clinton, who got 228 electoral votes after US television networks projected Wednesday she had won the northern state of Minnesota.
“The electoral college is broken,” New York protester Nicholas Forker said of the US indirect voting system. “I think it definitely needs to be reformed…”
Clinton concedes, Obama sets transition
Clinton fought back the bitter disappointment of not becoming America’s first female president to urge Americans to give Trump a chance, at least from the outset.
“Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country,” the defeated candidate said at a Manhattan hotel, in her first public remarks since the Republican’s shock victory.
“We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought,” she said. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
Trump heads to the White House Thursday for talks with Obama on securing a smooth transition of power.
Obama, addressing disconsolate staff in the White House Rose Garden, played down the extraordinary Trump win, painting it as democracy being its messy self.
“Sometimes you lose an argument,” he said, adding that all Americans would now be “rooting” for Trump’s success.
“We are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country,” Obama said as staff wiped away tears and pondered whether his administration’s eight years of toil had come to naught.
Most of the rallies were peaceful.
Outside Trump’s residence in Trump Tower on New York’s upscale Fifth Avenue, protesters gathered with signs reading “Dump Trump.” Police said they had arrested 15 people there, The New York Times reported.
Protesters playing a game of cat and mouse with police blocked a major highway near downtown Los Angeles in a demonstration that continued into the wee hours of Thursday, bringing traffic to a standstill.
Demonstrators outside City Hall there also hoisted a giant, box-shaped likeness of Trump’s head, topped with bright orange hair, into the street, and set it ablaze.
In Washington, several hundred gathered in front of the White House for a candlelight vigil to decry what they called Trump’s racism, sexism and xenophobia, carrying signs reading “We have a voice!” and “Education for all!”
“People are justly frightened,” said one of its organizers, Ben Wikler, director of the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org.
“We are here because in these darkest moments, we are not alone,” he told the crowd, before leading chants of “We are not alone!”
Protests were also held in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Portland and other cities.
In Oakland, California, some 7,000 people by police estimates lit fires in the street and stood around them chanting. Some threw bottles and firecrackers at police, and several officers were injured, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson told CNN.
She said two police cars also were burned.
Ethan Miller of the workers’ rights group Jobs with Justice said the Washington vigil was meant 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.”
In New York, demonstrators holding signs saying “Love Trumps Hate” and “Trump Grabbed America by the Pussy!” marched uptown from Union Square to chant in front of Trump Tower.
In Chicago, several thousand people gathered around another Trump Tower, blocking downtown traffic. A counter-protest gathered on the other side of the building.
Across the country, high school and college students also staged campus demonstrations and walkouts from classes.
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 US flags.
In Pennsylvania, hundreds of University of Pittsburgh students marched through the streets.
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.