The thousands of protesters who’ve taken to the streets of Los Angeles since Election Day are – like any mass movement – carrying a host of reasons in their hearts for leaving the safety of their homes, marching in the streets and making their voices heard. In response to exercising this Constitutional right, President-Elect Donald Trump called their legitimacy into question. But it’s his legitimacy motivating Angelenos to gather, because if there is a common thread to the protests taking place in Los Angeles and New York and San Francisco and across the country right now it’s: We’re not normalizing this.
The local protests against Donald Trump’s election began on Wednesday, downtown, and spilled onto the 101. The demonstrations continued through Monday, marking six straight days of citizens walking, chanting and carrying signs – protesting the election of a man whose campaign for the highest office in the land started, for all intents and purposes, the moment he questioned whether our current president had been born in this country. The largest local gathering so far, of an estimated 8,000 people, occurred on Saturday. (Videos from Saturday are posted above, and below.)
This was the scene on Saturday described by one Reddit user: “The march was very peaceful. There were a lot of signs and a lot of chants and a lot of kids and a few dogs, too. The police stayed to the side, blocking traffic, and they always got cheers and handshakes. They were respectful and respected. One cop even took a group picture with a few people, but he made them drop their signs before he got photographed with them.”
Local reaction has been swift. In the moments following the election, students at UCLA and other area colleges poured into the streets, chanting. On Monday, hundreds of non-college students walked out of class and gathered at City Hall – like their student peers across the country. “I can’t make my parents proud if they’re not here,” 15-year-old Yesenia Flores told the Los Angeles Times. The LA Teachers Union voiced its support for the student protest. Those who can’t or won’t take to the streets but want to signal support for the vulnerable are wearing safety pins.
Unsurprisingly, celebrities who openly campaigned for Hillary Clinton were stunned and saddened by the election. The good times between Trump and the entertainment industry are probably over – as he and his xenophobic, racist views and misogynistic behavior are widely seen as radioactive. There is already speculation that local producers will seek to keep productions within the state, or will locate productions to blue states.
In regards to immigration, which was the cornerstone of the Trump campaign, the election has set up a potential showdown between Trump and the city, with the LAPD already vowing not to assist with mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. Meanwhile immigrant rights groups are meeting with lawmakers in anticipation of a possible federal mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants. On 60 Minutes last night Trump said he only wants to deport 2-3 million people. But Trump changes his mind so often – no one really knows what that number would be. In any case, Mayor Eric Garcetti and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio have both pledged for their cities to remain immigrant sanctuaries.
With Trump in the White House – and both houses of Congress in the Republican majority – the nation’s largest metropolises suddenly find themselves at odds with Washington, where a populist, post-ideological, authoritarian president and a sympathetic legislature will set policies on immigration, criminal justice, gay rights, health care and reproductive rights that will be at odds with our nation’s diverse, economically powerful population centers. Here in Los Angeles, Trump received just 24 percent of the county’s vote, while the city voted strongly in favor candidates and policies that embody inclusive liberalism. People are on the march, but the real protests are probably yet to come.