Thousands join multiple anti-Trump protests down Market Street
Thousands of protesters flooded Market Street in opposition as Trump was sworn as the 45th President of the United States Friday morning.
Protests took place throughout the day, the largest being the “Inauguration Day Trump Protest,” which began at UN Plaza Friday evening.
Organized by the Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, the event attracted thousands of protesters as they chanted and marched through downtown San Francisco.
“I’m a public school teacher and a single mom here in San Francisco and I work with the ANSWER Coalition,” said Natalie Hrizo. “I was motivated to come out and volunteer during the Iraq war and we came together today, initiated by the ANSWER Coalition, to say no to Trump’s policies of racism, sexism, bigotry.”
The protest kicked off with speeches from organizers and supporting organizations like Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan); the International League of Peoples’ Struggles; and Gloria La Riva, the 2008 presidential candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party.
“Liberalism is dead. It’s the system that’s the problem. It’s not just an individual like Trump, as odious as he is,” said La Riva to the crowd. “We have to fight for a system that meets everyone’s needs because we need those needs for every human being. No deportations, no police brutality, no racism, no war, no sanctions and viva Palestina!”
As protesters marched toward the Castro, 20-year-old Helen Ghebreyesus, an SF State student studying Women and Gender Studies, and member of the ANSWER Coalition, led the masses with chants of “The people united will never be divided!”
“That’s what we’re here to talk about,” said Ghebreyesus. “The system is so toxic and it’s not working. We want a different alternative (and) that is the socialist way. We’re demanding a revolution, a revolution that will change how the system is right now.”
The march came to an end as protesters returned to UN Plaza where organizers stood around holding an ANSWER Coalition banner shouting “Fuck the system!”
“It’s about saying we don’t want the Democrats or the Republicans, both of them are the ruling class that don’t understand the working class folks or poor people that are suffering under the system,” said Ghebreyesus.
Throughout the day protesters gathered to emphasize the flaws in Trump’s presidency and in the Capitalist system.
“We are people, we are not illegal!” said Tina Shauf-Bajar, a member of Gabriela San Francisco, a Northern chapter of Bayan, who led the crowd with chants while introducing speakers at the protest rally.
The morning protest gathered at 8 a.m. at Justin Herman Plaza for a “Bay Area Resist Trump” march led by Shauf-Bajar.
Several speakers addressed protesters with speeches about human rights, immigration issues and opposition of privatized education.
“United Educators of San Francisco are here today to put our arms around the schools with our friends marching today in the community,” said Ken Tray, the political director of UESF. “President Trump represents a radical privatization of schools, and that’s why we’re so thrilled to be marching here today with thousands.”
Protesters filled Sansome Street as they followed behind a truck where Shauf-Bajar and other organizers led the crowd with spiels and chants.
“I am willing to put my life on the line from now on to protect those who don’t have access,” said Mary Martinez, a 2007 SF State graduate who works at Women Organized to Make Abuse Nonexistent, Inc. “I’m also showing up for myself because I am a queer Mexican.”
Police lined the sidewalks as they monitored protesters throughout the march. Law enforcement was there to facilitate traffic, according to Officer Cheng who stood observing the crowd.