The People, United, Again
Hundreds gather in downtown LA to protest Trump Inauguration
January 24, 2017
Filed under Politics
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Donald Trump was sworn in as president on Friday, January 20th in Washington, DC, much to the excitement of his followers who watched him revel in their highly contested victory. Across the country, however, thousands gathered for another reason: “United Against Hate,” as the protesters called it. In Downtown Los Angeles, people of all walks of life endured gloomy, rainy weather as they marched to City Hall and occupied the streets to make sure their discontent with the state of the nation was made clear.
The protest was filled to the brim with an array of banners and signs, all of which expressed a collective message: The disenfranchised must unify against Trump. Amidst this sea of unapologetic defiance, “Trump-zilla”, a large inflatable Donald Trump doll with a white KKK hood in its right hand, towered over the protesters. Earl Armstrong, Revolution LA member, was partly in charge of wheeling the giant symbol through the rain.
“He’s [Donald Trump] going to be the President, he’s going to have his Cabinet, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit by and idly agree with those decisions or his presidency, and I think it’s important people express themselves,” said Armstrong.
Anti-Trump protesters converged on the steps of city hall which took the form of a makeshift pulpit for their message of disapproval. Using a megaphone, one of the protesters candidly expressed, “we do not have a permit to be here, but these streets are ours and belong to the people.”
Police officers were present at the scene and the protest remained peaceful. Many waved flags of their respective groups, as many of the protesters carried the Mexican flag and the rainbow flag for the LGBTQ community.
Phil Talenser, a protester, was seen perched on top of a concrete block, wearing a red pancho, as he continuously waved his rainbow flag.
When asked why he decided to participate, he explained, “It’s easy as gay man in California, a very progressive place to say ‘we’re going to be fine’; I worry about the gay teen in Alabama who’s already growing up with maybe parents who don’t understand them, a community that doesn’t support them.” Talenser continued, “I’m giving back to a community that used to have it much, much worse than it is right now, that even if it’s purely symbolic to start I did think it was important on this particular day… that I go out and do something.”
Claudia, a Cal State Alumna, was one of many in attendance and was also excited by the turn out. “I think it’s awesome that a lot of people can express their opinions, that there’s a lot of people saying different things because there are that many different things wrong with Trump,” Claudia said. “Everyone here is saying things that he’s done wrong, that he’s going to do wrong, which is a lot of things and it’s kind of terrifying; But, it’s good that we can still do this [protest].”
Trinidad Castaneda, a current Cal State LA student, actively participated in the protests, rallying against the Trump presidency. “We marched from Boyle Heights, Down Cesar Chavez, it’s a historic route that empowered the whole way here.”
“I watched the inauguration from facebook, and I felt this feeling of immense dread and I knew I had to do something; I knew I couldn’t just stay at home and be sad about it,” Castaneda said. “Rain or shine there was going to be a march, and being out here it helps people feel good and helps them realize they’re not alone, they’re out here in solidarity… it’s important to stay together because we’re experiencing a radical shift in the way we see the world,” they added.
While many citizens took to the streets to rally against a man who they see as “not their president,” there are others who see Trump’s presidency as a breath of fresh air. In a written statement to the University Times, Mark Galang, a Cal State LA student and Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) member, expressed his excitement about the inauguration.
“We as Americans come together to celebrate the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Today is very special day for every American, regardless of political beliefs,” Galang said. “My personal thoughts on the president is that I hope he does a great job at leading our country and truly making America great again, especially for my family who had to suffer paying for obamacare.”
“I believe we should express our ideas so we can engage in thoughtful and respectful discussion. However I condemn any sort of violent demonstrations that will be brought out because of today’s reaction towards the President, there is no reason for justification to hurt someone or damage property,” Galang said.
The protest occurred in Downtown LA was largely peaceful, as protesters chose to channel their anger in a constructive manner.