Throngs of demonstrators held marches across the United States on Wednesday to protest Republican Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the U.S. presidential election, blasting his campaign rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims and other groups.
Trump, 70, was elected the next president in one of the tightest races in the country’s political history.
In New York, thousands of protesters filled streets in Midtown Manhattan as they made their way to Trump Tower, while hundreds others gathered at a Manhattan park and shouted: “Not my president.”
The protest is currently moving up 6th Avenue, and part of the street is closed to traffic.
In Chicago, roughly thousands more attempted to gather outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower downtown while chanting phrases like “No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA.”
Chicago police closed roads in the area, blocking the demonstrators’ path.
“I’m just really terrified about what is happening in this country,” said 22-year-old Adriana Rizzo, who was holding a sign that read: “Enjoy your rights while you can.”
Protesters railed against Trump’s marquee campaign pledge to build a wall along the border with Mexico to keep out undocumented immigrants and other policies perceived as affecting people of color.
“I’m particularly concerned about the rise of white nationalism and this is to show my support against that type of thing,” Rizzo said.
A representative of the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the protests. In his victory speech, however, Trump said he would be president for all Americans, saying, “It is time for us to come together as one united people.”
Earlier this month, after a Ku Klux Klan newspaper declared its support for Trump, his campaign rejected the support and said that “Mr. Trump and his campaign denounces hate in any form.”
Protests broke out in several other parts of the country, including Oakland, Calif., Portland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston, Austin and Los Angeles.
On Twitter, the hashtag “NotMyPresident” had been used nearly half a million times.
Clinton calls for an ‘open mind’
Defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said today Americans owe Trump “an open mind and the chance to lead.”
Speaking Wednesday morning for the first time to supporters since losing the U.S. election, she said: ”I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.”
Clinton didn’t give a formal concession speech earlier but called Trump early Wednesday to congratulate him.
“This is painful, and it will be for a long time,” Clinton told several hundred supporters at the New Yorker hotel. “And I want you to remember this: our campaign was about building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.”
Trump’s triumph over Clinton will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House and threatens to undo major achievements of President Barack Obama.
“We must accept this result and look to the future,” Clinton said. But she added: “Our constitutional democracy demands our participation not just every four years but all the time … If we stand together, our best days are ahead.”
The devastating loss for the Democratic party, which will no longer hold the White House and will continue to be in the minority of both chambers of Congress, was certain to open painful soul-searching among Democrats, who had endured a lengthy primary between Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The so-called democratic socialist drew strong support among liberals amid an electorate calling for change but then backed Clinton’s general election bid.
Sanders put out a statement Wednesday evening about Trump’s win.
“Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids — all while the very rich become much richer.
“To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him,” said the statement.
Obama calls for unity
Obama also stressed the importance of unity in his first public address since Trump’s victory Wednesday.
“The day after, we have to remember that we’re actually on the same team,” he said. “This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first; we are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country.”
Obama said he had spoken to Trump to congratulate him and “to invite him to come to the White House tomorrow to talk about making sure that there is a successful transition between our presidencies.”
He added that the country needs “a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, the rule of law and respect for each other.”
“I hope that he maintains that spirit throughout this transition, and I certainly hope that’s how his presidency has a chance to begin.”
Obama also said he could “not be prouder” of Clinton.
“Her candidacy and nomination was historic and sends a message to our daughters all across the country.”
‘Ain’t whupped us yet’
Earlier, Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, noted that “she won the popular vote of Americans.” (As of noon ET Wednesday, Clinton had 47.7 per cent of the vote against Trump’s 47.5 per cent.)
Kaine quoted author William Faulkner, saying: “They kilt us but they ain’t whupped us yet.”
Trump has pledged to act quickly to repeal Obama’s landmark health-care law, revoke the nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada.
Trump congratulates Clinton
Speaking to supporters overnight, Trump sounded unusually gracious as he announced he had received a call from Clinton. He had vowed during the campaign to send her to jail.
“I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign …. We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”
Despite losing the state-by-state electoral battle that determines the presidency, Clinton narrowly led Trump in the nationwide popular vote, according to U.S. media tallies.
Clinton had cast herself as heir to Obama’s legacy and had pledged to make good on his unfinished agenda, including passing immigration legislation, tightening restrictions on guns and tweaking his signature health-care law.