Hundreds of young people — including Sacramento State students and a professor — marched on downtown Sacramento on Friday afternoon in protest of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
Linda Ann, a Sac State student and the co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, helped to organize the ‘January 20th Day of Action.’
“We hope to achieve, one, sending Donald Trump a message that we’re not just going to stand by as he destroys our community and our country,” Ann said. “We hope to gather support for local efforts here in Sacramento to kind of pad our city and make sure that the negative effects of his presidency are going to affect our community a little bit less.”
The event began at noon with protesters gathering in four locations around Sacramento and converging on the West Steps of the State Capitol around 2 p.m.
The demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Not my president” and “No Trump, No KKK, No fascist USA,” which have been heard at similar protests around the country in the wake of the controversial billionaire’s surprise victory in the presidential election two months ago.
Sac State professor Kathy Martinez attended the protest with her two dogs, Osi and Kona, both adorned with signs reading “not my POTUS.” Martinez echoed the sentiments of many demonstrators, who said that they were concerned with the rhetoric, character and policy proposals of the new president.
“Everything that Trump stands for, I am opposed to,” Martinez said. “I can’t begin to state the discontent I have. He did not legitimately win, he is not qualified, and so many of his policies are going to be a catastrophe.”
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Several demonstrators gave political speeches from the capitol, facing the Mall and the Tower Bridge. Among those was Russell Rawlings, a Sacramento State student and candidate for mayor in last year’s election.
Rawlings said that “the solution to Trump-ism is socialism.”
“We will not allow our brothers and sisters to be deported or attacked unnecessarily,” Rawlings said. “We need to find and show that there are alternatives to the policing model that is keeping so many people down. The police system only serves capitalism.”
After several speeches, along with live music and two poetry readings, the protesters blocked several downtown streets as they marched to the Sacramento County Main Jail and back to the Capitol.
Maile Hampton said that the demonstrators decided to go to the jail to demand the release of a protester who had been arrested at the Capitol.
“I’m not sure (why he was arrested). I know he was a person of color and he was with us the whole time,” she said.
The Sacramento Police Department has said that the man may have been arrested by the California Highway Patrol.
Tensions at times ran high between protesters and police stationed at the demonstration. Some demonstrators said that they were made uncomfortable by the heavy police presence.
“It doesn’t look like (the police) were here to support us,” protester Anure McGee said. “The only reason it would go out of hand is the cops. I feel like I’m being hovered over.”
Trump supporter Blake Stigerts had a different view of the police presence. Stigerts said he decided to come to the protest after seeing riots in Washington, D.C. earlier today.
“I have a lot of family in law enforcement,” he said. “If anything gets out of hand, I want to help identify the suspects and bring them to justice.”
Tensions peaked when Stigerts waved a “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag — often utilized by the right-wing Tea Party Movement.
A man wearing all black grabbed the flag, sparking a brief confrontation before police asked Stigerts and others to leave as anti-Trump demonstrators chanted “we want peace” and “KKK Nazi.”
An even larger protest, the Women’s March on Sacramento, is scheduled to begin Saturday at 10 a.m. at Southside Park and is inspired by similar protests planned for tomorrow in Washington, D.C.