Anti-Trump demos escalate
NEW YORK — Tens of thousands of people marched in streets across the United States on Saturday, staging the fourth day of protests of Donald Trump’s surprise victory as president.
The protests — held in big cities like New York and Chicago as well as smaller ones, such as Worcester, Massachusetts, and Iowa City, Iowa — were largely peaceful on Saturday, although two police officers were slightly injured during protests in Indianapolis.
Protesters rallied at New York’s Union Square before taking their cause up Fifth Avenue toward Trump Tower, where they were held back by police barricades.
The Republican president-elect was holed up inside his tower apartment, working with aides on the transition to the White House.
Among those railing against him was filmmaker Michael Moore, who tweeted a demand that Trump “step aside.” Fashion designer Noemi Abad, 30, agreed. “I just can’t have Donald Trump running this country and teaching our children racism, sexism and bigotry,” she said. “Out of his own mouth he made this division. He needs to go — there’s no place for racism in society in America.”
Trump’s comments — particularly a 2005 recording of him making lewd comments about women — sparked outrage during his campaign. That spilled over into demonstrations following an election that ended with half of US voters choosing the other candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Demonstrators in Indianapolis on Saturday threw rocks at police, slightly injuring two officers, said Police Chief Troy Riggs. Some protesters began chanting threats including “Kill the Police,” and officers moved in to arrest seven demonstrators.
Police briefly fired pepper balls into the crowd during the confrontation. “We believe that we have some instigators that arrived in our city,” trying to start a riot, Riggs said.
Rowdy demonstrators marched through downtown Portland, Oregon, again on Saturday night despite calls from the mayor and police chief for calm.
Several hundred people took to the streets and authorities reported at least one arrest after people in the crowd threw items at police in riot gear. The gathering came after a news conference Saturday in which Mayor Charlie Hayes and Police Chief Mike Marshman urged restraint after several days of violent marches that damaged property and left one person shot.
In Los Angeles, several thousand people marched through downtown streets on Saturday to condemn what they saw as Trump’s hate speech about Muslims, pledge to deport people in the country illegally and crude comments about women.
Jennifer Cruz (18) of Ventura, California, carried a sign that asked: “Legaliee weed but not my Mom?” — a reference to Californians’ Tuesday passage of a measure legalising recreational marijuana use.
Cruz said her parents have been in the United States illegally for 30 years, although her mother has spent years seeking citizenship. She called the possibility of their deportation terrifying.
“We talk about it almost every day,” she said. “My Mom wants to leave it in the hands of God, but I’m not just going to sit back and not do anything. I’m going to fight for my parents, even if it kills me.”
In other parts of the country, spirited demonstrations on college campuses and peaceful marches along downtown streets have taken place since Wednesday. Evening marches disrupted traffic in Miami and Atlanta. Protests also were held in Detroit; Minneapolis; Kansas City, Missouri; Olympia, Washington, Iowa City and more.
More than 200 people, carrying signs, gathered on the steps of the Washington state Capitol. The group chanted “not my president” and “no Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.”
In Tennessee, Vanderbilt University students sang civil rights songs and marched through campus across a Nashville street, temporarily blocking traffic. Several hundred anti-Trump protesters joined the trial protesters and marched through downtown Cincinnati.
In Chicago, hundreds of people including families with small children chanted “No hate. No fear. Immigrants are welcome here” Saturday as they marched through Millennium Park, a popular downtown tourist attraction.
Sonja Spray (29) who heard about the protest on Facebook, said she has signed an online petition urging the electoral college to honor the popular vote and elect Clinton.
Demonstrations also took place internationally. A group of Mexicans at statue representing independence in Mexico City expressed their concerns about a possible wave of deportations. One school teacher said it would add to the “unrest” that’s already in Mexico. About 300 people protested Trump’s election as the next American president outside the US Embassy near the landmark Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Meanwhile, it was supposed to be his grand valedictory tour. Now President Barack Obama must use his last major trip abroad to try to calm shocked world leaders about the outcome of the US election and what comes next when Trump is president. He leaves for the five-day trip today. Trump’s unforeseen victory has triggered pangs of uncertainty at home and grave concerns around the world. Though Obama has urged unity and said the US must root for Trump’s success, his trip to Greece, Germany and Peru forces him to confront global concerns about the future of America’s leadership.
“In some ways, there’s nothing to say,” said Heather Conley, a Europe scholar at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Conley said Obama’s trip, planned when it seemed certain Clinton would win, had been designed to reassure the world that the US had regained its footing after a toxic campaign that unnerved foreign capitals. “Now the president has the unenviable task of telling his counterparts and explaining what Europeans are now coining ‘the Trump effect,’” Conley said. For months, Obama lent credence to those concerns as he urged Americans to reject Trump. Standing alongside Singapore’s prime minister in August, Obama said
Trump was “woefully unprepared” because he lacked “basic knowledge” about critical issues in Europe, Asia and the Mideast. And during a visit to Japan, Obama said he wasn’t the only world leader worried about Trump.
“They’re rattled by him, and for good reason,” Obama said in May. “Because a lot of the proposals that he’s made display either ignorance of world affairs, or a cavalier attitude, or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is that is required to keep America safe and secure and prosperous and what’s required to keep the world on an even keel.” Now, Obama must pivot and reassure the US and other countries that somehow, it will all be OK.
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security advisor, said the president fully expects Trump’s election to be a dominant theme of the trip, but would emphasise his plans to keep carrying out his approach until Trump takes over. — Al Jazeera
US protesters gather in New York to protest against Donald Trump in this file photo. — AFP