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Anti-Trump demonstrators rally in Manhattan

Anti-Trump protesters including Laura Merrill, seen in

Anti-Trump protesters including Laura Merrill, seen in a striped sweater, are seen at Columbus Circle in Manhattan during an anti-Trump rally on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Credit: Steven Sunshine

Denouncing Donald Trump’s presidential bid as a betrayal of American values, demonstrators marched in midtown Manhattan between two towers that bear his name.

“Our hope is to inform the voters of the city that Donald Trump is a fascist, a racist, and his incitement of violence at all his rallies does not have a place in American politics,” said one of the organizers, Steven Hamlin, 19, of Farmingdale.

A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign had no immediate comment on the criticisms of protesters who marched between Columbus Circle and the Republican candidate’s campaign headquarters on Fifth Avenue on Saturday.

The rally was organized by Cosmopolitan Anti-Fascists, which describes itself as a New York City-based group that promotes “inclusion, diversity and human rights.”

Fascists promote violence to build loyalty, using a “scapegoat” strategy of turning people against “the other,” instead of solving problems, Hamlin said.

“We see Donald Trump as a threat to our brothers and sisters. We support refugees. We support immigrants,” said Hamlin, a student at Nassau Community College.

Police initially estimated the crowd, which began gathering before noon, at 300, but their ranks grew steadily as the afternoon wore on.

Samuel Cohen, a Manhattan lawyer and official observer, said the rally had drawn at least 1,500 to 2,000.

Some activists’ signs said “Veterans Against Trump, “Trump Thinks I’m A Bimbo” and “Deport Trump.” Others depicted him as Hitler and urged people to instead vote for Donald Duck. One of the more comical protesters donned a Trump mask, and goose-stepped his way along the route to the delight of tourists, passers-by and doormen. Others sported wavy blonde wigs that aped the candidate’s trademark coif.

The protest was largely peaceful, though police said there were three arrests on such infractions as charging officers.

Phil Josselyn, 68, a Vietnam veteran from Manhattan, decried Trump for his “coded racial language,” saying the candidate’s unpredictable behavior drew outsize media coverage, though he believed the developer was the worst politician since the era of President Lyndon Johnson.

Tibby Brooks of Manhattan came out partly to demonstrate to overseas audiences that Trump’s views are far from how the majority of Americans feel.

“I think it’s our duty to protest and show — we know the world is watching — that there are an enormous number of people who find him fascistic because he wants to get rid of the less fortunate,” she said.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the crowd moved into Central Park and then marched down Central Park to Trump Tower, where they chanted and waved placards. “You don’t belong in the city; go home,” was one of the politer chants.

One of the very few Trump supporters in evidence was George Overbeck, 45, of Westhampton Beach, who urged the protesters to switch sides.

“Trump is the strongest leader,” he said.

The rally returned to Columbus Circle and, by midafternoon, most had dispersed.

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