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, upending most predictions and rising to the nation’s highest office despite several controversial statements during his 18 months campaigning.
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.”
‘Enjoy your rights while you can.’ — Protester Adriana Rizzo
The protest moved up 6th Avenue, closing part of the street to traffic.
In Chicago, 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.”
One of Trump’s top advisers — former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani — dismissed the protesters as “a bunch of crybabies.”
Anti-Trump protesters marching down 14th Street in downtown DC. Chanting, “Not my president!” pic.twitter.com/F1zysMMvyX
Giuliani said on Fox News early Thursday that most of the protesters are college-age students and seem to be “one per cent of one per cent of one per cent.”
He said he would advise the president-elect to tell them to calm down, and after a year, “you’ll be living in a better country. If not, go cry then.”
Giuliani is widely expected to get a major position in the Trump administration.
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 colour.
“I’m particularly concerned about the rise of white nationalism and this is to show my support against that type of thing,” Rizzo said.
In his victory speech, Trump said he would be president for all Americans, saying, “It is time for us to come together as one united people.”
Defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech Americans owe Trump “an open mind and the chance to lead.”
Demonstrators block highway
Protests also broke out in cities including Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., Pittsburgh, Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Austin, Texas.
On Twitter, the hashtag “#NotMyPresident” had been used almost half a million times.
Several hundred people flooded onto one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles, causing a miles-long traffic backup.
The protesters, who had remained peaceful and not overly disruptive for most of the night, poured on to U.S. 101, which links downtown L.A. to Hollywood, and stayed there for most of an hour. Drivers sat and waited. Many got out of their cars.
The crowd was slowly starting to disperse as many of the demonstrators left the freeway and others were taken into police custody.
There was no violence between officers and protesters.
‘One united people’
In Boston, thousands of anti-Trump protesters streamed through downtown, chanting “Trump’s a racist” and carrying signs that said “Impeach Trump” and “Abolish Electoral College.” Defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton appears to have won the popular vote, despite losing the electoral count that decides the presidential race.
With almost 125 million votes counted, The Associated Press tally had Clinton with 47.7 per cent of the popular vote and Trump with 47.5 per cent. Most of the outstanding votes appeared to be in Democratic-leaning states, with the biggest chunk in California, a state Clinton overwhelmingly won.
Clinton said in her concession speech Americans owe Trump “an open mind and the chance to lead.”
Her loss 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.”