Demonstrations at university campuses from California to New York. “It’s validating that it’s OK to be racist,” said one protester.
Donald Trump’s shock election victory sparked dramatic protests across the US early on Wednesday morning. College students and activists shut down roads, started fires in the street and angrily cried “not my president”.
University campuses from California to New York saw demonstrations and marches shortly after Trump announced that Hillary Clinton had called him to concede.
In Oakland, a northern California city that Trump had previously called one of the “most dangerous” in the world, some protesters set trash on fire and broke windows, while many on the streets chanted “Fuck Trump!” and other rallying cries, some in Spanish.
“I was just devastated,” said Drae Upshaw, a 19-year-old college student. “I come from a Mexican community. I have family and friends crying tonight in fear that Donald Trump will deport them.”
Demonstrations spilled out on to the streets from a number of University of California campuses, with particularly large protests dragging on late into the morning in Los Angeles.
The impromptu protests drew activists who said they were frightened about the impact a Trump presidency would have on women, people of color, immigrants, LGBT people and other marginalized groups.
“I come from a family of two immigrant parents who came here with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said Yamary Ornelas, an 18-year-old who live-tweeted protests at San Francisco State University. “I got to go to university only to have something as important as the presidency be given to somebody who doesn’t represent me and doesn’t represent anybody I would ever associate with.”
Ornelas, a first-year student, said it was difficult to fathom her younger siblings growing up under a Trump presidency. “Four years is a long time. And what if we get eight years of Trump?”
Saahel Alimagham, another 18-year-old protester in San Francisco, said it was infuriating to think that US voters preferred Trump to the first female president.
“We’re going to let this racist man win, but we’re not going to let an overly qualified woman in?” she said. “America just doesn’t want a woman president, and it just sucks as a woman especially to know that and realize that.”
Alimagham, who is Middle Eastern, said she was also terrified of the message a Trump victory would send and the impact he could have on undocumented immigrants in her life. “It’s validating that it’s OK to be racist,” she said.
Alimagham said it was cathartic to take to the streets with a group of people who shared her anger and fear. “It felt like a really supportive group, like we can get through this together,” she said. “There’s power in unity. We’re not just going to take it. We’re going to fight.”
Eddie Gutierrez, a 33-year-old Oakland protester, said he was most concerned about how the world would view the US. Gutierrez, who works as a sales manager, said he feared the Trump administration would damage international business relationships.
“Everyone was hoping that once the election was done, everything would be back to normal, but who knows now?” he said. “We’re fucked. No one is going to want to fuck with America.”
Devan Bentley, a 29-year-old artist who lives in Berkeley, California, said he felt he had to join the protests to try to find reasons to be optimistic on such a dark night. “I felt like I needed to be here, because I needed to be with people who want to create a community and live in a community that is accepting of all people.”
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