When NYIT Communication Arts sophomore, Devin Zacchino, rallied in New York, he had decided not to watch the news that day. Trying “not to get too aggravated,” he took to the streets to find “a sense of liberation.” It was the second time in his life he was protesting and, again, it was against Donald Trump. “I felt a lot better, safer, and less alone because it was scary when he won”, he says.
Devin was one of the thousands of New Yorkers who marched against the new President on Inauguration Day. Rallies were held outside Trump Tower, Union Square and Foley Square in Manhattan and they were all peaceful.
“One thing I learned is how big of an impact people can have when they come together. Over there, I saw people of all ages, races, genders, everything. I saw families marching together.” says Devin.
As opposed to New York, things in the capital did not run so smoothly. Only a few blocks away from the inauguration celebrations in downtown Washington, there were clashes between protesters and police, destruction of property and more than 200 arrests. Military police had all streets under control.
Besides their powerful signs, protesters had art installations, an improvised wall like Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico; and they had puppets and impersonators - anything it would take to make a statement. When they started to march, the massive crowd flooded the city’s main streets disrupting the flow of traffic and asking drivers to join the protest.
When it became dark, things calmed down in the city, but protesters were not done yet. Further down the street, police were still in barracks on the spot where clashes had taken place earlier on.
“I came for so many reasons. Too many to list. So, I have this on my sign” says a protester Mike, who traveled from Colorado to Washington for the march “before complacency sets in around the world”. Among the massive flow of people, Christine, from Ohio, was with her daughter Jessica and her 6-year-old grandson. “I wanted to show to my son that we have the right to protest when we don’t agree with our leaders,” says Jessica “I don’t want this rhetoric and hate that Trump has spread his entire life being told to our kids.”
Still further down, somebody grabbed a “Make America Great Again” hat and set it on fire. On the other side of the street, a few Trump supporters were proudly wielding their hats and flags.
Susana, from Chicago, has experience at protests. She had just arrived from Standing Rock where she was one of many protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Susana believes that “to be a leader is to have a sense of humility which Trump hasn’t shown. I respect the office so I encourage him to respect the office as well.”