Thursday, November 10, 2016

Second Night of Trump Protests Hits Major US Cities
By Lindsay Whipp and Patti Waldmeir in Chicago and Neil Munshi in New York
Financial Times

Protesters took to the streets across US cities on Thursday for a second day of demonstrations against Donald Trump, ​while the President-elect blamed the unrest on “professional protesters” egged on by media.

​Fresh from his first White House meeting with President Barack Obama, Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday night: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!​”

The protests, and Mr Trump’s condemnation of them, underscore the difficulty of reuniting America after the election, including the deeply riven white community.

Hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered in cities from Milwaukee to Seattle and Dallas to Philadelphia in much smaller numbers than on Wednesday night when tens of thousands marched through major cities.

Many of the protesters were white, demonstrating that although Mr Trump won a much larger share of the working class white vote than other recent Republican presidential candidates, the majority white community remains deeply divided over his presidency.

Worried by Mr Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric, his sexist and racist comments, and fears that gay marriage rights, progress on climate change and Obamacare could be at risk under the new leader, activists, students and other millennials marched through the streets of many US urban areas chanting slogans such as “Love Trumps Hate”.

Police erected security fences around Mr Trump’s newly opened Pennsylvania Avenue hotel in Washington and placed concrete blocks in front of the high-rise Trump Tower in Manhattan.

About 100 protesters marched from the White House, where Mr Trump had his first transition meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday, to the Trump International Hotel blocks away.

Police in Philadelphia said via official Twitter feed that about 1,000 protesters had blocked traffic near the city’s main railway station and other road closures were in effect, and the official Twitter account of the Milwaukee police said there had been a peaceful protest with no arrests.

More demonstrations are expected in Chicago this weekend. On Wednesday at American University in Washington, one protester burnt an American flag and could be heard saying: “This is a representation of America. We are going down in flames.”

The protests in the US, which were largely peaceful, mirrored those in London soon after the UK voted to leave the EU this summer. On both sides of the Atlantic, the vote followed bitterly fought campaigns that brought to the fore the different worlds occupied by liberal and more conservative populations. In the US, they highlighted the stark divide between cosmopolitan cities and the white-dominated rural areas that had delivered Mr Trump the White House and the popular vote to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

While protesters in the US acknowledged that a democratic process had led to Mr Trump’s election, they said it was their right to express their views peacefully.

“It’s a responsibility to speak out. We wouldn’t have a democracy if we didn’t speak out. Peaceful protesting is vital,” said Chicago protester Alyssa Gail Martin, a graduate who campaigned for Mrs Clinton’s rival Bernie Sanders during the primaries. She added she was prepared to work with opposition, but “need to ensure that human rights are respected”.

The centre of the protest in Chicago on Wednesday was outside Trump Tower, where local estimates suggested nearly 2,000 had gathered, some carrying flags representing the LGBTQ community and Mexico. Many wore fancy dress or Sanders T-shirts, while others had come straight from work.

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