By Cloee Cooper and Fariba Pajooh
[See related story on the night’s protest]
Helicopters buzzed overhead as thousands of angry and perplexed people gathered at the Trump Tower to protest the election of Donald Trump as president Wednesday evening.
Shocked youth, minorities, pregnant mothers and middle-aged people joined together to repeat chants of “No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA.” “Not my president” and “Donald Trump has got to go” reverberated through the streets of downtown Chicago as people, mostly young, held signs reading “Never Trump” and “Reject Racism.”
The event, originally called “Point and Laugh at Trump Tower,” was intended to celebrate Hillary Clinton’s victory. However, overnight the event was replaced with ‘Emergency Protest: Say no to Trump! Say no to Racism’ and was shared more than 55,000 times on Answer Chicago’s Facebook page. By 4 p.m., more than 8,000 people indicated on the site that they were planning to go.
See photos taken by Fariba Pajooh, Pat Nabong and Christen Gall:
One of the protesters was a 19-year-old young white man wearing a Palestinian shawl. He said he wore the shawl to protect himself from tear gas.
“My heart stopped when Trump had 275 of the electoral vote,” said Jack Lenhardt, a student at Elgin Community College whose father voted for Trump. “People have given up on electoral politics.”
The protesters gathered in front of Trump Tower, north of the recently blue-dyed Chicago River, and circulated around the tower several times before making their way north along State Street. Some protesters staged a sit-down at the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Superior and another at Michigan Ave. and Wabash.
Next to Trump Tower, men in suits and ties stood watching the demonstrators. “It’s America, that’s what happens all the time,” said a man who asked to be referred to as Dick. When asked what he thought of Trump, he said, “We’ll see what happens. Time will tell.”
Jonathan Alper, a lawyer from Rogers Park, compared the spontaneous protest to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, when thousands of Vietnam War protesters battled police in the streets.
“If you don’t protest for your rights, you lose them,” said Alper.
By 8 p.m. the crowd of protesters had blocked traffic on Lake Shore Drive and were still marching through the streets. There were no major clashes between police and protesters throughout the evening.
Similar rallies took place in dozens of cities around the U.S.