Protesters gathered in several US cities for a third night on Friday to demonstrating against the election of Donald Trump, hours after the president-elect praised their “passion”.
As darkness fell on Friday, thousands took to the streets of Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, voicing anger at Trump’s inflammatory and often deeply controversial campaign rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims and women.
In Miami, several thousand activists marched through the downtown, with a few hundred making their way onto a highway, halting traffic in both directions.
In New York, demonstrators again gathered in Washington Square Park and by Trump Tower, where the Republican president-elect lives, on Fifth Avenue.
Trump, who initially denounced Americans who protested against his election, saying they had been “incited” by the media, reversed course and praised them on Friday.
Trump took to Twitter saying:
The tweets were further evidence of Trump’s mixed messages since he announced his candidacy 17 months ago. After Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded defeat early on Wednesday, he took a far more conciliatory tone than he had often displayed during his campaign and promised to be a president for all Americans.
There were no reports of violence or arrests at Friday’s rallies, unlike on Thursday night when demonstrators in Portland threw objects, damaging new cars at a dealership. Police there arrested at least 26 people.
In Los Angeles on Thursday night, police arrested about 185 people, mostly for blocking roadways or being juveniles out past curfew, according to police. One officer was hospitalised for injuries suffered during the protest.
Anti-Trump demonstrators have voiced concerns that his presidency, due to start on Jan. 20, would infringe on Americans’ civil and human rights.
They cited his campaign promises to restrict immigration and register Muslims, as well as allegations the former reality-TV star sexually abused women.
A demonstrator sprays graffiti during a protest against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday. (Reuters)
Protesters in various cities have chanted slogans, including “No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” and carried signs reading “Impeach Trump.”
White supremacist groups including the Ku Klux Klan have praised Trump’s election, and some civil rights advocacy groups have reported a spike of attacks on minorities following Trump’s victory on Tuesday.
Trump has rejected the KKK’s support.
Most of the protests across the country, which have also taken place in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, have been largely comprised of young adults and college students.
With the country evenly divided, many voters were shocked by the result given that opinion polls failed to predict Trump’s triumph. The Republican Party also managed to maintain its majorities in both houses of Congress in Tuesday’s vote.
More anti-Trump demonstrations were planned for the weekend, including in New York and Los Angeles. A group calling itself “#NotMyPresident” has scheduled an anti-Trump rally for Washington on January 20, Inauguration Day, when the New York real-estate developer formally succeeds President Barack Obama.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on Friday acknowledged the tight race with Clinton, but said anti-Trump protesters have to accept the election results. He pointed to Trump’s call for unity and meetings on Thursday with Obama and Republican leaders as reasons for reassurance.
Security barricades now shield some of Trump’s most visible properties, including the newly opened Trump International Hotel near the White House and Trump Tower in New York.
Trump’s base of support in the election was the broad middle of the country, from the Heartland through the Rust Belt, with voters in states that had long supported Democrats shifting to Trump after he promised to renegotiate trade deals with other countries.