Image: People gather in protest in Seattle.
By Ian Simpson and Gina Cherelus
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Demonstrators took to the streets across the country for a second day on Thursday to protest the Republican presidential election victory of real estate mogul Donald Trump, voicing fears that his triumph would strike a blow against civil rights.
Beefing up protection for two of Trump’s marquee properties that have become protest rallying points, police erected security fences around his 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 Trump had his first transition meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday, to the Trump International Hotel blocks away, chanting “love Trumps hate.”
“This generation deserves better than Donald Trump,” said Lily Morton, 17, joining classmates from the Georgetown Day School. “The queer people, coloured people, women, girls, everyone that is going to be affected by this, we need to protest to help them.”
Later in the day in Los Angeles, a small band of anti-Trump protesters marched onto a freeway near downtown, blocking traffic until police cleared them away.
Trump’s critics have expressed concern that his often-inflammatory campaign rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims, women and others – combined with support he has drawn from the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists – could spark a wave of intolerance against various minorities.
Anti-Trump rallies were held in more than a dozen major U.S. cities on Wednesday, with thousands turning out for each of the biggest gatherings – in New York, Los Angeles and Oakland, California. In Oakland, unruly protesters smashed windows, set fires and clashed with riot police.
A Trump campaign representative did not respond to requests for comment on the protests. Taking a far more conciliatory tone in his acceptance speech early Wednesday than he had at many of his campaign events, Trump vowed to be a president for all Americans.
Earlier this month, his campaign rejected a Klan newspaper endorsement, saying Trump “denounces hate in any form.”
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and a high-profile Trump supporter, called the demonstrators “a bunch of spoiled cry-babies,” in an interview with Fox News.
White House spokesman Joshua Earnest said Obama supported demonstrators’ right to express themselves peacefully.
‘GET IT OUT OF THEIR SYSTEMS’
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer urged the protesters to give Trump a chance once he is sworn into office in January.
“I hope that people get it out of their systems … but then they give this man that was just elected very historically and his new vice president an opportunity to govern,” Spicer said in an interview on MSNBC.
In San Francisco, more than 1,000 high school students walked out of classes Thursday morning and marched through the city’s financial district carrying rainbow flags representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, Mexican flags and signs decrying Trump.
Several hundred students at Texas State University in San Marcos took to the campus to protest Trump’s election, with many saying they fear he will infringe the civil rights of minorities and the LGBT community.
Civil rights groups and police reported an uptick in attacks on members of minority groups, in some cases carried out by people claiming to support Trump. There were also reports of Trump opponents lashing out violently against people carrying signs indicating support for Trump.
Organizers used social media to plan and schedule many of the protests. A Facebook group named “#NotMyPresident,” formed by college and high school students, called for an anti-Trump rally on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.
Several hundred protesters gathered in New York’s Washington Square Park. Three miles (5 km) to the north at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, where the president-elect lives, Alex Conway, 29, stood holding a “not my president” sign.
“This sign is not to say he isn’t the president of the United States, but for two days I can use my emotion to be against this outcome and to express that he’s not mine,” said Conway, who works in the film industry.
More anti-Trump demonstrations were planned for the weekend.
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York and Ian Simpson in Washington; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, and Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Writing by Scott Malone and Steve Gorman; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)
Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.