Hundreds of people took to Seattle streets to protest Donald Trump's election to the White House. The demonstration was one of several locally and in cities spanning the country.
Hundreds of people flooded Seattle streets Wednesday to protest Donald Trump’s election to the White House, chanting expletives and rallying for aggressive political reform.
The demonstration was one of several in cities spanning the country, and followed protests at local schools in the wake of Tuesday’s results.
“This idiot has been able to touch the very hearts and souls of the very poor and uneducated,” one speaker told a crowd at Westlake Park about Trump. “This is not going to be easy.”
That event, organized by the Socialist Alternative Seattle group, gathered at Westlake Park in the afternoon. Later, they blocked streets and made their way to Seattle’s Capitol Hill. By 9 p.m., a group reportedly was near the University of Washington campus, where students hours before started a somber protest to mourn Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss. About an hour later, the crowd of hundreds was heading back downtown.
At one point, women in the downtown march chanted, “My body, my voice,” and then men yelled back, “Their body, their choice.” Some people held signs with an anarchist symbol that said, “All bets are off.” A popular chant among the whole group was, “Not my president!”
In the morning, 200 students staged a walkout at West Seattle High, then returned to school to speak with Principal Ruth Medsker.
“I said, ‘You are political animals and the leaders of tomorrow. How do we go about doing the right work and building a better world?’” Medsker said.
Later, Cleveland High students walked out of class, and more than 100 people stood outside the Beacon Hill school for a discussion. At the University of Washington, students gathered inside and later outside Suzzallo Library for the somber protest.
“It’s been a difficult morning for everyone,” said Adrienne Hubbard, an 18-year-old co-organizer of the UW vigil, which lasted for hours. “And now everything we’ve worked for is at stake.”
At 9 a.m., between 40 to 50 people — many of them members of campus social and economic justice advocacy groups — arrived to commiserate, while at the same time across the country Clinton took to a hotel podium in New York City to deliver a concession speech.
An invite posted to Facebook had asked participants to come dressed in black, and many did. As the rain grew heavy, discussion turned from anger over Trump’s victory, to dread over the policy and social changes he’s promised to enact, and then finally, how to reckon with the political setback.
Some in the crowd said several institutions share the blame for Clinton’s loss — the Democratic National Committee, the Electoral College and “establishment liberalism.”
“These people think they’re owed our support,” said one speaker. “We don’t owe them anything. We need to begin challenging their assumptions about young people.”
For some in the crowd, Tuesday’s election was their first as eligible voters, and also their first taste of political disappointment.
In the afternoon, in Red Square, students picked up a red megaphone and stood in the middle of the circle to tell their stories — of being black, Muslim, queer, Mexican, Cambodian, white — and their fears for what the election has brought forth.
At times, the crowd grew to hundreds of people, and the event was still going strong as the sun began to set.
At one point in the early afternoon, UW President Ana Mari Cauce — who is an immigrant, Latina and lesbian — came out to talk to students and give some hugs. Cauce also posted a message to the campus, urging students, faculty and staff to come together in unity.
“I have a lot of angry emotions,” said Michael Tekle, a senior, who is black and who stood on the steps of Suzzallo Library in the afternoon to listen. He said that in his eyes, the election revealed that the problem in America is white supremacy, and that calls to counter Trump’s election with love are an attempt to pacify people who disagree with Trump. Two friends standing with him said they agreed with his views.
Betty Vogeley, a senior, stood watching with Ahmed Awadallah, a junior, for about an hour in the afternoon. “I think it’s wonderful this is going on,” she said. “I think a lot of this is letting people know everyone is concerned, and they’re scared of the results” of the election.
A woman stood in front of the crowd, taking the megaphone, and announced: “I am a proud queer woman, and I am announcing it for the first time.” The group cheered and applauded. The woman talked about her fears for the future under a Trump administration.
Co-organizer Hubbard, a geography and urban planning student, said she worked with the campaign for Sound Transit Proposition 1, and was at a victory party in Ballard Tuesday night when results confirmed that the initiative had passed.
“It was crazy to be there and see all of the officials on stage delivering such great news, and then almost immediately get this feeling of dread when the results about Hillary started coming in,” she said.
Staff reporter Neal Morton contributed to this report.