Protests in opposition to the unexpected election of President-elect Donald Trump have sprouted up in cities across the nation since his victory Tuesday. While opposition to Trump is multifaceted, several demonstrators in Providence Wednesday specifically referred to Trump’s inability to secure the popular vote as a reason for their anger.
“I don’t accept a Trump presidency,” said Jenna Soenksen ’20. “It terrifies me and the people I care about.” Soenksen heard the noise of the demonstration from her room and joined the march despite not knowing where it was headed. Trump’s “rhetoric and the way he talks about women and minorities and the LGBT community is horrible,” she said.
Protesters began gathering on the steps of the State House building at 7 p.m., growing in number until beginning to march from that location at 8 p.m. A police officer on the scene estimated that there were about 800 demonstrators at the beginning of the night.
Carrying a number of anti-Trump signs and shouting slogans like “pussy grabs back,” and “hey hey, ho ho, racist Trump has got to go,” protestors set out from the State House, winding throughout the downtown area and Federal Hill before turning to the East Side and marching through College Hill.
A police escort followed the protesters throughout, blocking oncoming traffic as demonstrators walked through normally bustling streets like North Main and Thayer. The protest was peaceful in its entirety.
“This is what we need,” said Annie Voss-Altman. “We need to come together and fight hatred.” Voss-Altman rushed onto the street with her family upon hearing the protestors marching, displaying her own campaign sign for former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to roars of approval from the crowd.
Rick Grosso, a junior at the Community College of Rhode Island, learned about the protest through Facebook and marched from the beginning of the night to its end. “I’m a little bit tired,” he said.
Grosso said he does not stand for Trump’s attitude, “be it (toward) Muslims, Hispanics, black people, women, anyone at all.” He added that if he could tell Trump one thing, it would be, “Please don’t make our worst fears possible.”
The group waned in number over the night, with only about 100 protesters remaining when the march returned to the steps of the State House at 10:30 p.m. Despite their reduced numbers, protestors remained defiant in the face of a Trump presidency.
“Since we have a rigged system, we should use it to save our country,” one protester shouted at the assembled group. “We should organize in contested states and argue that half the electors vote for Hillary.”
Some others were still less optimistic even in the midst of such an electric movement. Zach Nelkin ’17 referred to Trump’s “racism, sexism and xenophobia” in explaining his sense of dread and uncertainty about the future.
“Quite honestly I have no idea what to expect from him,” Nelkin said. “Sometimes it’s very hard to tell what he stands for except for pure hate.”