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Anti-Trump protestors vow to be visible and vigilant

world Updated: Jan 23, 2017 08:59 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Anti-Trump protestors

Anti-Trump demonstrators walk down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women's March on Washington on Saturday.(AFP)

Anna could have stayed back in New York and joined the Women’s March there, but she was angry and bothered enough to get up early and catch a 5 am bus to DC to let the target of her ire President Donald Trump know how she felt from as possible.

She declined to give her last name and it soon became clear why — she really had some harsh words for Trump, a fellow New Yorker. Anna said she had to be in DC. “This is a historic protest against a historic — in a negative way — election.”

Her eyes flashing with anger, she vented, suggesting Trump has “psychological problems” (there is no proof of that, whatsoever), “he is a bully” (which he has been called before), and that he is a weak man who gets angry when called weak.

Hundreds of thousands of women, men and children marched in protest against Trump in the capital and more than 600 locations around the country to tell him they are not intimidated by him, they will “be visible and vigilant”, and they will stop him.

The marchers, who were mostly white and mostly Democratic, said Trump had no respect for women, people of colour, members of the LGBT community and they feared his policies would divide their country and isolate it internationally.

Without directly mention the march, Trump responded, writing in Tweet Sunday morning, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognise the rights of people to express their views.”

That’s acknowledgement he heard the marchers who had so surpassed expectations about the turnout that the organisers had wanted to cancel saying it had become too big to handle. But they went ahead with it, given the enthusiasm.

“We are the popular vote,” they chanted, referring to the final tally in which Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 2.9 million votes; and some carried placards that said “P…. is not for grabbing”, a reference to Trump’s Hollywood Access tape rant.

Central DC was awash in pink, as marchers in pink pussyhats designed specially for the event first gathered near Capitol Hill to listen to celebrity speakers such as filmmaker Micheal Moore, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, actress Ashely Judd and others.

Female genitalia “ain’t for grabbing”, said Judd referring to Trump’s rant. “They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it, for new generations of nasty women.”

A lot of signs and chants picked up theme from Trump’s remarks over the last few months — “nasty woman” came from one of the presidential debates in which he had used that phrase to disparage Clinton in retaliation for a swipe she had taken at him.

Robin Cooper, from neighboring Maryland, was appalled by everything Trump. “He is really a despicable human and I find him very scary,” she said, adding, “We cannot just stand by as we all have a responsibility to do something.”

Resist, said a lot of the signs. Get organized, others urged. “Make sure you introduce yourselves to each other and decide what we’re going to do tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, and we’re never turning back!” said Steinem.

Stopping Trump or denying him a second term, marchers acknowledged was easier said than done. But that was no reason to no try said, Robert Deak and David Suckoski, a Washington gay couple still in shock that it had come to this — that Trump won.

“We will have to be vigilant, visible and demonstrate that we believe that something is not right and that will not be intimidated, we will not be quiet,” Deak said and pointing to other marchers he added, “This is what we are doing today.”