Anti-Trump protest in MacArthur Park among a dozen slated nationwide Saturday
Thousands of demonstrators angry about Donald Trump’s presidential victory are expected to march through one of Los Angeles’ largest immigrant communities Saturday as part of several rallies planned across the nation.
“We want to send a message we’re not going to allow hate and fear to stop us from taking to the streets,” said Ron Gochez, an organizer with Union del Barrio Los Angeles, the group coordinating the 10 a.m. event in MacArthur Park.
“We’ve studied Trump’s 100-day program, and it’s clearly laid out with attacks against Muslims, attacks against immigrants, and attacks on everyone else,” Gochez said Friday. “That’s why we have to send a message both to our communities and Donald Trump that we are not afraid. This is a time not to cry but to organize.”
This weekend’s protests — slated for a dozen cities, including Cincinnati, New York and Washington, D.C., as well as in Dublin, Ireland, and Melbourne, Australia — follow a series of mostly peaceful demonstrations across the nation as a result of Republican nominee Trump’s win. Some violence and vandalism have been reported, however, and the Los Angeles Police Department will monitor Saturday’s event.
“We will be there to protect each individual’s right to protest,” said LAPD Sgt. Frank Preciado.
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Protesters say they are angry, fearful and concerned about Trump’s proposals on everything from deporting undocumented immigrants to denying entry of refugees from some Islamic countries to his administration’s anticipated views on the LGBTQ community.
Anna Wagner, one of the organizers of a protest held in the San Fernando Valley earlier in the week, said such demonstrations will continue “to honor the real deep pain that people are feeling for the acts of injustice that have been inspired and emboldened by Donald Trump’s rhetoric.”
She called the anti-Trump protest movement resilient.
“Ultimately, we are standing united against hate, and this country is larger than any political party or president-elect,” she said.
Saturday’s protest is expected to draw at least 13,000 people, with some writing on social media that they planned to drive to MacArthur Park from El Monte, Santa Ana, Irvine and even Oakland.
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Meanwhile, in Long Beach, protesters plan to gather at Bixby Park at 6 p.m. Saturday and march toward downtown wearing black “in solidarity in mourning.”
Trump supporters, in the meantime, said they back the right for people to demonstrate, but added that protesters eventually need to respect the American electoral process.
“If people want to take to the streets and protest, I support them 100 percent, but I don’t support people destroying their communities,” said Randy Economy, who is part of the Trump for America campaign in California. As a gay man, he said he believes Trump will be a president for all Americans. He called the rhetoric among anti-Trump protesters “fear mongering.”
Tim Clark, the California director at the Donald Trump for President campaign, said one message he’d like to get across to those who oppose Trump is that his presidency will include strengthening the country’s economy.
“The first thing I would tell them is the prosperity that is coming under a Trump presidency is a Trump prosperity for all,” Clark said. “They should take hope in the changes coming in the economy.”
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They also said Americans need to start coming together.
“The nation’s voters spoke and elected a man who could put our nation on the right plan,” Clark said. “Let’s move forward together. We want them to take great hope in the change that is coming.”
Meanwhile, about a dozen Trump supporters stood near the entrance to Camp Pendleton on Friday, waving flags and holding “Make America Great Again” signs, drawing support from passing drivers and bicyclists.
The rally included veterans and other community members, and a few active-duty Marines. It was organized by Jeff Schwilk, founder of San Diegans for Secure Borders Coalition, to recognize veterans and to celebrate Trump’s Tuesday presidential victory.
“We are here to celebrate our new commander and chief,” said Schwilk, an immigration security analyst. “We want him to restore the military and make it strong again and put veterans first instead of illegal criminals. American veterans are living on the street and committing suicide at 22 a day. It’s time to reverse that. There is no better day to celebrate that than on Veterans Day.”
Staff writer Erika Ritchie contributed to this report.