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NYC Donald Trump protest in Union Square draws thousands

Trump protesters demonstrated in Union Square before marching

Trump protesters demonstrated in Union Square before marching to Trump Tower on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Sixty-five people were arrested Wednesday night as thousands of people protested Trump's presidential win, marching from Union Square to Trump Tower, police said. 

The majority of arrests were for disorderly conduct and some were for resisting arrest, cops said. 

The protesters gathered in the rain in Union Square Park, already prepared with barricades and a visible police presence, and went on to march to Trump's doorstep at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. Many cited Trump's views on immigration, LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights as reasons to protest.

According to the Facebook event created by organization Socialist Alternative NYC, the protest was gathered to “Build a movement to fight racism, sexism, and Islamaphobia."

As demonstrators marched north, they chanted, "Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay," and "My body, my choice." They walked through Times Square to the applause of costumed characters, and took over Fifth Avenue as cars honked.

At Fifth Avenue and 56th Street, near Trump Tower, they stopped to chant "Not my president." The group stretched for blocks, and many in the crowd raised their middle finger to Trump's skyscraper.

For some, merely identifying yourself was a form of protest against Trump.

"I'm a black woman. That's all I need to say," said Ashlee Danielle, 25, of the Bronx. 

"I'm Jewish and my grandparents immigrated here to escape the Holocaust," said Ella Rivers, 21, of Crown Heights. 

In the park before their march, protesters climbed trees to wave rainbow flags in support of the LGBTQ community. They held up signs that read "you don't lead us" and "we the people are our only hope."

And they chanted, “[Expletive] your wall."

Rivers said she feared Trump's election and compared it to Tony Abbott's election as prime minister in Australia — a reaction, she said, to the country's first female prime minister, Julia Gillard. 

"He ran on bigotry. This has been a campaign of spite. It's spite against our progress as a country," she said. 

She said she couldn't comprehend how Trump could explicitly boast about groping women and still be elected president. 

“Right now we need to be here and take care of each other," she said as she teared up. 

A few protesters were offering hugs to the despondent. 

"It's heartbreak," said Don Bernal, 26, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, who held up a "free hug" sign. "I just saw everyone out today. They were heartbroken. I figured people need this."

Danielle said she didn't believe that Trump successfully campaigned on issues like bringing back manufacturing jobs, but rather by feeding on racism and animosity towards women. 

"This is whitelash," she said. "This is hell on earth. I feel disgusted, betrayed. I don't think anything positive will come out of this."

Some protesters blamed what one chanter called the "weakness" of the Democratic Party and its failure to win votes in key states. There were forecasts that a coalition of anti-Trump conservatives and populist leftists would rally against the president-elect. 

Rob Jenkins, 28, a member of Socialist Alternatives, the group that organized the protest, said it's time that a party forms to represent the working class. 

"Trump has nothing to do with the working class. He's a member of the elite, and that will become clear to his supporters," Jenkins said. "He's not going to live up to his promises to the working class. He's not bringing any jobs back." 

But mostly, many focused on what they perceived as Trump's attacks on minorities and women. 

"We have a black president who is about to hand the baton to a candidate endorsed by the KKK," Danielle continued. 

She partially blamed the media for what she described as normalizing Trump and his beliefs. She said that Trump's election shows just how little social progress the country has made. 

"We haven't made any progress," she said. "We have a racist, sexist, bigoted man in the White House."

- With Ivan Pereira and Jillian Jorgensen

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