New York says ‘not my President’: When a city marched against Donald Trump | world-news | Hindustan Times
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New York says ‘not my President’: When a city marched against Donald Trump

On Wednesday evening, Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, Americans and immigrants, queers and feminists picketed Trump Tower, on fifth avenue in Manhattan.

world Updated: Nov 10, 2016 19:04 IST
Hundreds of anti-Donald Trump protestors march through the street on 6th Avenue on their way to Trump Tower, November 9, 2016 in New York City.
Hundreds of anti-Donald Trump protestors march through the street on 6th Avenue on their way to Trump Tower, November 9, 2016 in New York City. (AFP)

“Not my President.”

“Not my President.”

“Not my President.”

“Not my President.”

It had been 18-odd hours since Donald Trump was elected as the next president of the United States. And thousands of New Yorkers were outraged.

On Wednesday evening, all of us – Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, Americans and immigrants, queers and feminists – picketed Trump Tower, on fifth avenue in Manhattan.

There were people everywhere, for as far as you could see down the street. Some even climbed poles on the sidewalk sheds – possibly to see as far as they could down the street.

Protestors on a signpost shout slogans during a demonstration on 5th Avenue near Trump Tower on November 9, 2016 in New York. (AFP)

Unified chants of “F*ck Trump”; “F*ck you, Donald”, “Love trumps hate,” “hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go,” and “Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay” filled the air.

But this was more than an anti-Trump protest. It was a display of New York City’s cultural diversity.

There were screams of “Black lives matter,” referring to the movement that campaigns against systemic violence towards African-Americans and “Break the wall,” challenging Trump’s plan of building a wall to keep Mexicans out of America.

There were shouts of “P*ssy grabs back,” alluding to a recently leaked 2005 tape of Trump saying “you can grab [women] by the p*ssy”. There were chants of “Muslims are not terrorists” and “Refugees, welcome”.

Video | New Yorkers take out rallies against Trump

And most importantly, they challenged the slogan of Trump’s campaign, “Make America Great Again” by casually screaming, “America was never great”.

We were cheering now, but until a few hours ago, this crowd had been in mourning.

A few minutes after 5pm, a few hundred people gathered at Union Square, a historic landmark for demonstrations. It began with dissonance: someone blamed Hillary Clinton, someone eulogized about Bernie Sanders, a young woman told us that she was planning to have a bay this year – but will not, not in this political environment. There were lots of tears.

Within the hour, the crowd doubled, maybe tripled. There were speeches – about the failure of the system, the failure of the Democratic party and the absence of the Left in American Politics.

A protestor holds a placard during in a demonstration on 5th Avenue across from Trump Tower on November 9, 2016 in New York. (AFP)

People poured in by the thousands, the police was everywhere. It was raining. The idea that we should all march through midtown Manhattan – all the way to Trump Tower, 40 blocks away – for some three-odd kilometers sounded ludicrous. The cops wanted us all on the sidewalks.

But we took to the streets.

“Whose streets?”

“Our streets.”

For ninety minutes, thousands of us walked, skipped, hopped and – at one point – ran along the way. Human chains of protestors stopped the traffic to let us pass. Buses, cabs and cars honked to the tune of the slogans. People, stuck in traffic, emerged from the sun roofs of their cars to join in the cheering, others flashed the peace V-sign, most took pictures. There were no snarly comments about the blocked roads. Instead, there was support from the sidewalks and the stores. Tourists and New Yorkers joined in the sloganeering, even if they didn’t join in the march.

A protestor holds a placard during in a demonstration on 5th Avenue across from Trump Tower on November 9, 2016 in New York. (AFP)

Groups of people walked holding hands. The signs ranged from “End Rape Culture” to “America Needs a Hug”. Some people waved rainbow flags (showing support from the queer community), some carried bunches of flowers (a symbol of anti-Vietnam War protest in the 1970s). Some just held up their middle fingers to the Trump Tower.

In case they hadn’t made it clear already, they spelled out their message to Donald Trump, a native New Yorker: New York Hates You, they said, over and over again.

(The author is a former journalist with Hindustan Times. She is now a student of Columbia Journalism School. )