When Americans woke up on Wednesday morning, they discovered they had elected Donald Trump as their next president. Some were exultant, others not so much and still others were disappointed and angry enough to take to the streets.
As the day unwound, protests broke out in several American cities against the stunning upset pulled off by Trump by defeating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who had led every opinion poll, survey and forecast for most of the year.
Protesters, mostly young college students, burnt Trump effigies and chanted “Not my president” in Washington DC and Boston, “No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA” in San Francisco and “Hey, ho, Donald Trump got to go” in Los Angeles.
Protestors gathered around Trump buildings, easily identifiable landmarks in many cities across the country with Trump’s last name emblazoned across them in fancy fonts and designs.
Lady Gaga, an outspoken Clinton supporter, joined protests at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where Trump lives with his family and works, and which had a protective ring of dumpsters kept around it by authorities for security.
The singer posted a picture of herself standing in front of one of those dumpsters. “I want to live in a #CountryOfKindness #LoveTrumpsHate He divided us so carelessly,” she wrote in a post on social media. “Let’s take care now of each other.”
In colleges and universities, which are mostly liberal and Democratic, classes and assessments were cancelled and postponed, and authorities sought to reassure youngsters struggling to deal with the election outcome.
“Partisan, inflammatory statements unfortunately seem to be part of modern campaign rhetoric, but they cause real wounds,” Northwestern University wrote to students, asking them to notify professors if they need to miss class, according to USA Today.
In her concession speech, Clinton called for people to give Trump a chance with an “open mind”, but she conceded she was hurt and it was painful and would stay so for a while. Those wounds will take time to heal.
President Barack Obama pressed the same message — to move on. “A lot of our fellow Americans are exultant today. A lot of Americans are less so. But that’s the nature of campaigns. That’s the nature of democracy,” he said, before protests broke out.
Protests were reported from 25 cities, with many arrests. But there were no reports of violence or clashes with Trump supporters, who had been aggressive during the campaign, and had beaten up protesters at the Republican nominee’s rallies.
They have every reason to stay home now, and celebrate, and watch their nominee begin putting together his administration to take charge after his inauguration on January 20, past noon.