Anti-Trump demonstrators march in Detroit

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

In the hours after learning that businessman Donald Trump had won the 2016 presidential election, Christopher Martin immediately knew he would protest.

The 21-year-old student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit rejects the incoming commander-in-chief’s position on immigration, the Affordable Care Act and other issues. So he joined about 100 demonstrators Wednesday evening at Campus Martius to denounce the outcome and call for change.

He wasn’t alone. Protesters angry about the election turned out in at least six other cities, in some places smashing windows and setting garbage bins on fire.

“I don’t think Trump’s views, whatever they are, are going to help the USA,” Martin said while preparing to march. “It’s just not right.”

Anger over the controversial views embraced during the divisive presidential campaign, fear about a future under a Trump presidency and a desire to speak out drove many to participate in the protest, which spurred waves of marchers to course across Woodward Avenue and near the riverfront.

Amid rush-hour traffic, some thrust their fists in the brisk air and hoisted banners as well as rainbow-colored flags, chanting slogans such as “Immigrants, Muslims, here to stay! We will march like MLK.”

Joe McGuire of Dearborn attended with his 3-year-old, Oscar, toting handmade signs reading “We must resist” and “Stand up to Trump.”

“I wanted to be clear that literally the first day after Trump was elected he’s going to be met every step of the way with resistance and protest,” he said. “I know there are a lot of people feeling the same way. But I hope and feel they can understand that they don’t have to just sit at home and close themselves off. They can do something about it.”

Demonstrators angry about the election smashed windows and set garbage bins on fire early Wednesday in downtown Oakland, California. Other protests brought crowds in Seattle and in California, more than 1,000 students at Berkeley High School staged a walk-out and marched to the campus of the University of California. Students also walked out of two high schools in Oakland, a high school in Boulder, Colorado and a high school in Phoenix, Arizona.

In Oregon, dozens of people blocked traffic in downtown Portland and forced a delay for trains on two light-rail lines. Media reports said the crowd grew to about 300 people, including some who sat in the middle of a road. The crowd of anti-Trump protesters burned American flags and chanted, “That’s not my president.”

In Pennsylvania, hundreds of University of Pittsburgh students marched through the streets, with some in the crowd calling for unity. Campus protests also erupted at the University of Texas, the University of Connecticut, the University of California, Berkeley and other University of California campuses.

On Twitter, the hashtag “NotMyPresident” had been used nearly half a million times.

The Detroit demonstration emerged through a Facebook page created by Joseph Fournier of Royal Oak, who supported other protests in recent years but had not yet found any anti-Trump ones planned locally.

“My hope is that we get together, have a sense of solidarity, make people feel safe,” he said. “We have a lot of people who are scared of what the new administration is going to bring in. …We need to build a coalition so if some of Trump’s policies come to be, we have political frameworks in place to address them.”

Distressed by the election results and concerned about a possible backlash against others who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning, his sister, Caitlin Fournier, also joined the throng.

“At least if I’m out walking, I don’t feel like I’m literally going to die because I’m genuinely scared that people are going to try to kill me now,” the Hamtramck resident said. “There is a lot of aggression towards women and there’s a lot of aggression towards LGBTQ people … so it’s kind of a double whammy.”

Bryce Morrison, a college student from Sterling Heights, also joined his friends for the demonstration, raising a white placard referencing Trump’s famous “bad hombres” quote. He hoped protesting would inspire many to seek changes in the electoral process allowing for better leadership.

“This affects every single one of us,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.