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Trump protesters: students, immigrants, anarchists and more

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Donald Trump says the thousands of men and women taking to the streets to protest his election are “professional protesters incited by the media.” But who are they really? The answer varies from state to state. The crowds include high school students, immigrants and even anarchists.

“There’s no professional protesters here,” said Jennie Luna, a 40-year-old professor of Chicano studies at California State University-Channel Islands, just north of Los Angeles.

The day after the election, she organized what she calls a “self-care circle of courage” on campus for students who needed an outlet for their distress over Trump’s win. The event morphed into a rally and march that lasted several hours.

“I am fearful for what will happen to the undocumented, I’m fearful of losing my reproductive rights,” she said. “And I’m fearful of the unknown.”

America’s new president has made many promises about changes to “make America great again,” such as undoing some regulations on companies, for example.

He has also made pronouncements that have struck fear within certain groups of Americans – women, Latinos, people with disabilities and racial minorities, among them. The protests that have spread across the nation are against Trump, but more pointedly, they are expressions of concern about how personal lives could change.

Isadora Clemente Zurie, 21, was among those at a Thursday night protest in Salt Lake City, Utah, riding in her wheelchair with the crowd.

“I’m disabled and I’m LGBT. I’ve been bullied all my life” she told The Salt Lake Tribune. “Now I’m in a world where for just being me, I could lose my entire life.”

College students whose parents moved to the United States illegally are worried that Trump will follow through with his threat to rescind President Obama’s executive order that protects young immigrants from deportation.

At a Thursday night protest in Philadelphia, 23-year-old Jeanine Feito held a sign that read “Not 1 More Deportation.”

Protest organizers are using a tool that Trump made such effective use of – social media. Tweets and Facebook posts have called people to protests across the country. Trump’s election spawned a popular new hashtag: “NotMyPresident.”

Some of the protests are occurring in cities with a history of political activism such as Portland. In the 1990s, the staff of then-President George H.W. Bush dubbed the city “Little Beirut” because of the demonstrations his visits provoked.

An organizer of the Portland anti-Trump protests is 23-year-old Gregory McKelvey, who has been a spokesman for the black activist group Don’t Shoot Portland.

At Portland’s Thursday night protest by about 4,000 people, masked anarchists marching with the otherwise peaceful protesters smashed store windows with baseball bats, among other acts of mayhem. The protest became a riot and ended with 25 arrests.

On Friday, McKelvey defended the protest.

“It was our aim to channel the shared frustration, fear and anger that is so alive among so many of us considering our future prospects into a unified front for peaceful change,” he said in statement.

He disavowed the rioters: “The violent actions that occurred last night had absolutely nothing to do with our group.”

In Louisville, Kentucky, after Trump’s election victory 23-year-old activist Mallie Feltner looked online for an event to vent her frustration but found none. So she decided to organize her own. The call spread through social media and more than 1,000 people showed up for the Thursday night protest. They chanted about women’s rights, gay rights, the rights of immigrants and African-Americans.

“My focus is showing solidarity to all of the people who felt disheartened and afraid like I did Wednesday morning,” she said. “I want them to feel heard. I want them to know I’m not going to become complicit in it.”

The last time 65-year-old Leslie Holmes participated in protests was in San Francisco in the 1970s, during the Vietnam War. That changed with Trump’s election.

The website developer from Wilton, Connecticut, a registered Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, took an hourlong train ride to New York City to participate in demonstrations on Friday.

“I think the progress we’ve made in the past eight years is something that’s really worth defending,” she said. “This is the first time in 40 years I really felt motivated to put myself on the line.”

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Associated Press writers Amanda Lee Myers in Los Angeles, Claire Galofaro in Louisville, Kentucky, and freelancer Dake Kang in New York City contributed to this report.

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Follow Terrence Petty on Twitter at http://twitter.com/APOregonPetty .

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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