Metro, Top Story, Politics, Boston

Thousands Fill the Common to Resist Trump

This Friday, just hours after Donald Trump took office as the 45th President of the United States, approximately 4,000 protesters filled the Boston Common to attend the Resist Trump: Occupy Inauguration rally. Beginning at 6 p.m. near the Parkman Bandstand, the rally quickly grew in size as people of all ages, races, and genders joined organizers, adding their voice to a loudly growing song of dissatisfaction that can be heard across the country in the wake of the Inauguration.

Organized by the Socialist Alternative and Socialist Students groups, Friday’s Resist Trump rally was co-sponsored by many other organizations including Massachusetts Peace Action, Boston May Day Coalition, and Boston Feminists for Liberation. Joe Sugrue, a member of the Socialist Alternative and organizer of the rally, explained that planning began immediately after the election of Trump. As the group hosted public meetings through December and early January, the plans for the rally solidified.

Sugrue highlighted the importance that mass protests will hold during the Trump administration in the coming years, as they have historically proven to be effective tools against forms of oppression and discrimination.

“I believe that mass protests boost the morale of those who are willing to resist the establishment, and provide an entry point to independent politics, organization, and coalition building,” Sugrue said.

During the first hour of the rally, organizers led attendees in roaring chants and shared brief speeches given by leaders from some of the other participating groups. Participants continued arriving throughout the hour, filling the Common with passionate chanting and creative handmade signs.

As 7 p.m. approached, organizers mobilized the protesters and began a slow march to the State House and to City Hall. Leading the mass of people in a bright red truck that was flocked by a small bank of drum players, the organizers from the Socialist Alternative slowly drove out of the Common and onto the streets of downtown Boston as the other protesters marched behind. Toiyah Shester, one of the organizers, used a megaphone to lead the marchers in a ceaseless series of chants as they slowly moved down the streets shouting everything from “Trump lies, Trump cheats, build the movement, hit the streets,” to “No Trump, no KKK, no racist, fascist USA.”  

As the protesters continued down Beacon Hill and toward City Hall, the number of attendees stretched down the long street as far as the eye could see. Some of those in attendance, such as Cara Hundersmart, a resident of Watertown, rallied to draw attention to a specific worry—for Hundersmart the misuse of the natural resources contained in the land that the Navajo Nation rests upon—instead of just expressing their general dissatisfaction with the new administration. Hundersmart also noted that this form of protest is a perfect starting point for future action.

“[These protests are] a good way to get people out and know familiar faces so that you know who your allies are,” Hundersmart said.

Others, like Melissa Miller, a current freshman at Northeastern, focused more upon the trials facing women’s rights in the future. Miller acknowledged, however, that each person’s reason for attending held equal importance.

“[We’re] coming together for a whole lot of movements that we feel Trump and his cabinet are totally against,” Miller said. “I think that if there’s any good thing to come out of this election, it’s to see that people are angry enough to say that they’re not going to sit down and take it.”

Students of Boston College, such as Sabel Flynn, CSON ’19, were also in attendance. Flynn explained how, as a firm anti-capitalist, ze feels that the rest of the nation is finally joining hir point of view.

“I’d say we’ve got a demagogue in power at this point,” Flynn said. “I think that people are waking up to how bad it really is and how bad that the majority of the nation put this man in power.”

Flynn also expressed a satisfaction in the rally, noting that any protest is an effective protest.

“I feel like really, no one is left out here,” Flynn said. “They made the route very accessible for differently abled people, and I really like the atmosphere they’ve created here.”

As the organizers’ red truck—and the stream of protesters trailing in its wake—reached City Hall, it slowed to a halt, creating an interesting juxtaposition with the crowd of people enjoying the Boston Winter ice skating rink just a few hundred feet away. The chants came to an end as more speakers took to the podium inside the truck to speak to the crowd about immigrant rights, and about the fight to come.

As the speakers continued, a giant papier maché puppet of Governor Charlie Baker with a tissue stuffed in his nose was brought in front of the crowd to remind them of the Socialist Alternative’s demands that he has currently failed to meet.

Other groups, such as an anti-fascist group, were less playful in their demonstrations, and instead burned the American flag in front of the crowd.   

But even with such a strong showing of anti-Trump protesters, those resisting the ralliers’ message still attended. When asked why they disagreed with the ralliers, the objectors—who abstained from giving their names—explained that they had voted for Jeb Bush, and expressed a general dissatisfaction with the events taking place.

“I disagree with loud noise,” one of the dissenters said. “I disagree with everything.”                                                                                                                     

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

January 21, 2017