National News

Post-Election Protest

In just five days following the election of Donald Trump, thousands of individuals have turned out to protest in at least 52 cities across the country, according to The New York Times.

In fact, in days following Election Day on Nov. 8, protests have gone so far as to have interstate highways shut down in cities, such as Minneapolis and Denver. In Denver, in particular, “Police said demonstrators made their way onto the freeway and traffic was halted in the northbound and southbound lanes for about a half-hour,” according to USA Today.

Also, the protests have spread to college campuses, such as on the Texas A&M campus, and even to high schoolers, some whom are not old enough to cast a vote.

In New York, hundreds of protesters who were relatively young gathered nearby Trump Tower for a second night in a row expressing their anger over the results of the election. The organizers are too young to vote yet they decided to make it known that they want to inspire young people to voice their opinions and make it known the youth can still shape the future, as USA Today reported. In fact, organizer Elijah Newman, of Brooklyn who is only 16, stood and protested to make the protestors voices were heard.

“We’ve got to protest … It’s not just Donald Trump — it’s the system of education,” said Newman, according to USA Today. “New York City is like a megaphone to the entire world. It’s important that we’re protesting here because it will inspire and influence other people to start protesting.”

They were not the only group of young people who decided to protest following the election, either. In Oakland, Ca., Berkeleyside reported that, at Berkeley High School, about 1,500 students walked out of classes Wednesday morning, the day following election night, towards Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus chanting, “He’s not our president, he’s not our president.” At the location students had an open mic where they showed support for undocumented students and “demanded the teaching of African American and Native American history, as well as gay rights history, among other things,” according to Berkeleyside. Also, ABC7News reported that on the morning of Nov. 10, two days following election, in San Francisco, more than 1,000 students walked out of their respective schools across the city headed to the Civic Center to engage in a peaceful protest, according to a tweet from the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD).

“We recognize our students’ right to free speech and understand their need to use it. The walkout this morning was not authorized by SFUSD staff,” said SFUSD district officials. “Per our standard protocol, we will be notifying families regarding their unexcused absence through our attendance system.” However, not all protestors were peaceful. In fact, USA Today reported 4,000 protestors gathered in downtown Portland chanting “we reject the president elect,” with some of these protestors getting violent, just three nights following the election. Some smashed windows of business, vandalized 19 cars at a dealership and started dumpster fire, according to USA Today. The protestors were reported to travel while vandalizing the properties, from Northeast Portland where they vandalized the cars crossing the Broadway Bridge to the Pearl District, where they smashed the businesses’ windows. In the midst of the protest, officers arrested 26 individuals after the officers ordered the protestors to disperse after their protesting turned in what the police referred to as a riot, claiming “extensive criminal and dangerous behavior.” Along with making arrests, police officers attempted to restrain the crowd with pepper spray and flash-bang devices and even “types of smoke or tear gas,” reported USA Today. Portland’s violent protest resulted in more than $1 million in damages, as the Portland Patch reported. Also, the Portland Patch reported that 112 people were arrested; however, many of these protested didn’t actually voted, with 73 being registered to vote in the state and 34 actually casting a ballot, meaning that only one-third of those arrested in this protest actually voted.

Another violent protest was in Oakland, California, on the night following election, with some protestors throwing “Molotov cocktails, rocks and fireworks at police,” resulting in 3 police officers being injured, as a police spokesperson, Johnna Watson, reported to CNN. Also, these violent protest resulted in 40 fires from simple trash fires to business located downtown being set on fire. Also, CNN reported that “By Thursday morning, emergency workers extinguished about 40 fires.”

“Throughout the evening, the large group splintered into smaller groups that began vandalizing numerous businesses in the downtown area,” Oakland police said, according to CNN.

As a result of the alleged violence from protestors, CNN reported that the police arrested at least 30 individuals and issued 11 citations for “vandalism, assaulting officers, unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and possession of a firearm.”

Barack Obama, the former president of the United States, commented on the protestors at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Nov. 10, while stating that protesting is a part of democracy.

“I would not advise people who feel strongly or are concerned about some of the issues that have been raised during the course of the campaign — I wouldn’t advise them to be silent,” said Obama. “What I would advise — what I advised before the election and what I will continue to advise after the election — is that elections matter, voting matters, organizing matters, being informed on the issues matter.”

Many other people have an opinion on protesting, like Jonathan Chan Jon Chu, a junior majoring in Accounting and Economics. Chan Jon Chu comments on whether he would protest and his opinion on others protesting and how they decide to protest, for example, by going to the extent to burn the American flag.

“I would protest just like my forefathers to bring in the right change that our country needs because in this time, America needs it most,” said Chan Jon Chu. “I understand that anger they feel seeing someone like Trump win the election but … I don’t [agree with] people setting a fire to what our forefathers stood tall and steady to build up for.”

However, some people have turned to joining grass root organizations instead of protesting whether peacefully or violently. In fact, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization geared towards protecting civil liberties, reported on their page they have a rush of new members, with their Facebook followers increasing 25 percent to nearly one million people. Also, 150,000 new people joined their e-mail list. Additionally, they received approximately 120,000 donations, equaling more than $7.2 million in donations. This was the greatest outpouring the organization had ever in their 100 year existence, greater than the outpouring following 9/11.

People’s interest in the organization was evident the day following elections. In fact, the influx of donations crashed ACLU’s donation webpage on Nov. 9, the day following the election.

“The surge was an over 7,000% increase to our donate link, ” ACLU spokesperson Gabriela Melendez told BuzzFeed News said. “It’s hard to say how long it was down for and we’re trying to pull dollars and gift numbers. Our system is extremely overwhelmed with all of the hits we’re getting.”

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