News US Election 2016

Thursday 23 November 2017

Angry protesters march on US cities to demonstrate against new President

Demonstrators march up 5th Avenue in New York during a protest against the election of President-elect Donald Trump Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Demonstrators march up 5th Avenue in New York during a protest against the election of President-elect Donald Trump Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Shona Murray

Hundreds of thousands of people are continuing to march across cities in the US in reaction to Donald Trump's stunning victory as President-elect of the USA. In Washington DC on Thursday and Friday, a crowd of around 1,000 was dispersed by US Secret Service outside the White House after police wrestled to the ground and arrested one of the protesters.

Crowds shouting "F*** Trump", "Pus** bites back", and "Not my President" have been marching every day, with over 100,000 gathering outside the President-elect's home in one of his omnipotent Trump Tower buildings, causing major disruption to the heart of mid-town Manhattan.

"I was at the Italian consulate to get my Italian passport and saw this protest and decided to join in," said 26-year-old Alison Cassileda, in Washington DC. "I can't stay here [in the US], this new environment is poisonous; all the racism and hatred, I can't take it." And 26-year old law student Arya said he's concerned at "what is being allowed" in society as a result of the "hatred spewed" during Donald Trump's campaign.

"I'm afraid of all the casual racism in the streets."

There are "folks on the fringe" in both camps, said David Urban, head of Trump's campaign in Pennsylvania - a State that characterised, perhaps more than anywhere else the 70-year-old tycoon's victory from under the feet of Democrats. While deemed a swing State, Pennsylvania hasn't voted Republican since 1988 until last Tuesday night.

These "far-left", "fringe groups" are upset with the Democrats because Bernie Sanders isn't their President, they're not protesting solely against President-elect Trump, Urban told the Sunday Independent. The misinterpretation of Trump voters as "hill-billies from the mountains" is completely inaccurate," he adds.

The notion that Trump rallies were "full of 'deplorables' that Hillary Clinton talked about" is untrue. There are fringe groups in every movement, he explained when asked about instances of racial hatred and misogyny present at Trump rallies, and just because "they agree with Mr. Trump, doesn't mean he agrees with them."

After what was roundly described as a positive, albeit awkward first meeting between President-elect Trump and US president, Barack Obama on Thursday, Trump immediately took to Twitter to ridicule his detractors saying "Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!"

Just as Trump's victory should have been predicted, given the overwhelming attendance at his rallies in often very rural parts of America, and the less-than lukewarm turnout for Hillary Clinton among certain vital constituencies - like the African American community in key battleground states like North Carolina during early voting - so too were protests of this nature in the aftermath of the elections, regardless of the outcome.

Donald Trump's consistent degradation of the media throughout the campaign, and regular claims that the system was rigged, would likely have triggered similar reactions from some of his supporters.

The fact that Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote, and Donald Trump the Electoral College, having collected over 270 votes to take the White House, some have been arguing points to a system that is indeed, rigged, or at least an affront to democracy.

The Electoral College system was set up to avoid instances where a majority vote can result in harm being done to the minority. It aims to balance the control small states have over larger ones, where if a harmful candidate is popular in places with larger populations like Texas, then they need not consider the well-being of smaller regions like New Hampshire, for example.

Trump's aides are also allaying deep concerns among the US's traditional allies such as the EU about what his presidency means for trade agreements, NATO and other areas of cooperation and interdependence.

Trump's anomalous relationship with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin is worrisome for most EU member states, at a time when European leaders are considering applying even more sanctions against the regime there in response to Russian aggression in Aleppo.

There are also major concerns about Russia's participation in future cyber-war activities against the US and its European and NATO allies, with several intelligence sources saying Trump's campaign and his constant reference to Putin and Russian in complementary terms, emboldened Russia to interfere in the US election.

During the week, Stephen Moore, one of Trump's most senior advisers, and one of many associated with the right-wing, conservative think-tank, The Heritage Foundation, said a major policy plank in tackling unemployment was repatriating jobs from American multi-nationals, many of which operate in Ireland, and are vital to Ireland's open economy.

"Mr Trump loves Ireland and the Irish people", "he'll take a look" to make sure deals are fair, and any deals where we're [America] going to be disadvantaged they're going to be renegotiated, said Urban.

Sunday Independent

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