On the eve of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, thousands of protesters took to the streets in New York City in what was meant to be a show of unity and a prelude to what organizers hoped would be a weekend of dissent around the country.
In the days after Trump’s election, protesters gathered night after night, often at the base of Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. On Thursday, with his presidency hours from becoming reality, they rallied near Central Park, in the shadow of another one of the many skyscrapers bearing the Trump name.
Many said they had a personal fear of the president-elect. “Trump is a direct threat to me and my humanity,” said Ravenne Reid, 19, a student at John Jay College, as the rally near the Trump International Hotel and Tower began. “I’m worried about student loans and women’s rights and a million other issues. I couldn’t not be here.”
The rally was likely a sign of things to come over the next four years, with Trump-branded buildings in the president-elect’s hometown making the perfect backdrop for opponents of his policies, the New York Times reported.
To Reid, that seemed like an opportunity. “You can’t ignore what’s outside your window,” she said. “I’m hoping the sight of all these people resonates with him personally.”
Mark Ruffalo, an actor and one of the organizers of the protest, said in a statement before the rally that “thousands of New Yorkers are coming together to stand up for one another, as we will do every day, to protect the values we hold dear — to fight for health care, criminal justice, immigrant rights, and action on climate change.”