Chanting dissidents marched in Baltimore to protest the election of Donald Trump. (Anthony C. Hayes)
A vociferous but peaceful crowd of more than 600 people took to the streets of Baltimore last Thursday night to protest the recent election of Donald Trump. The protest, which tied up downtown traffic at the height of rush hour, wound its way around the Inner Harbor before moving south to M&T Bank Stadium, where the Ravens were set to play the Cleveland Browns for a nationally televised game. A heavy police presence gently directed the protesters away from arriving football fans, and then followed the crowd as it returned to the Inner Harbor. Police also lined the parade route as the protesters traveled north along North Charles Street, past the Washington Monument and Pennsylvania Station, before concluding the march at about 10:00pm at People’s Park — a small tract of land at the corner of North Charles Street and North Avenue.
The restrained nature of the Baltimore protest stood in stark contrast to the violent demonstrations which have rocked cities like Los Angeles (where hundreds were arrested, closed down two freeways and interrupted fans departing the NBA game between the L.A. Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers), Oakland, and Portland, Oregon. At the end of the night, Baltimore City Police said they had detained three people, though only one has been charged — a twenty-five-year-old woman who refused to obey a lawful order.
The majority of protesters – some carrying signs decrying “white privilege” or saying “Not My President” and “Clinton Did This To Us” — appeared to be in the 20-35 year age range.
Lydia and Zach* were Baltimore protest participants from the 5:00pm start until the late evening end.
“This is the first protest I’ve ever been a part of and it was amazing,” exclaimed Lydia. “There was so much love and positivity. Even the people who we were blocking – people sitting in their cars as we walked by – were smiling and waving their hands in support of us. We saw very little backlash.”
Zach agreed, saying, “It was a great protest — very peaceful. I saw people shaking hands with the police and thanking them for coming out, saying, ‘I know this is a tough situation, but thank you for being here to protect us.’ Everyone was energized. They want change, and I think that moving forward, we’ll see more people come out for these kinds of events.”
We asked the couple what prompted them to join the protest.
“I woke up the morning after the election and for the first time, I woke up scared”, said Lydia. “I’m an immigrant. My family is from Ethiopia. My dad protested the government in Ethiopia and was sent to jail for four years. I’m a woman of color and a victim of sexual violence. I don’t feel supported by Trump, so I had to come out tonight.”
Zach told us, “I’m an environmental scientist. I’m in grad school right now, studying rivers. With Trump as president, my future job employment is in jeopardy – especially if the EPA is shut down along with a number of other agencies. I’m also big on climate change because I care about the future. Not only my future but the future of my grand-kids. That’s why I came out.”
Mt. Vernon resident Rob was in his apartment when the protesters went by.
“I was at home doing some late night work when I heard a series of shouts and chants. That’s something very unusual for this time of night, so I looked out my window and saw the intersection of North Charles and Madison just covered with people. I’m not on social media, so I’m not in tune with the organizer’s goal, but I’m sure everyone has their own reason for being out here tonight.”
Rachel and Courtney – two friends who were both wearing bright red “Nasty Woman” baseball caps – followed the protest from south Baltimore as far north as Biddle Street.
“We were trying to catch up with them,” explained Rachel. “We followed them from M&T Bank Stadium over to the harbor and up Charles Street. This was a peaceful protest, and I’m glad for that. I don’t think violence is this answer. I understand it, though, because people are very upset. But I think if we can keep it as civil as possible, we can get some sort of reaction to our concerns.”
Courtney – a Los Angeles native who is presently working in Baltimore – described what she saw as “inspiring”.
“People want change,” opined Courtney, “and instead of going about it violently, like they have done in the past, they are just walking and holding up signs, saying what they think. It’s all out of love for America. People on both sides did not exactly get the election they wanted, but with the turnout being more upsetting than the other, it just hit people and they want to change it.”
(*Editor’s note: To protect the anonymity of the protesters, The Post-Examiner used only first names for this article.)
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The following images of the Baltimore Trump protest are courtesy of photographer Michael Jordan.
Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A former reporter at The Washington Herald and an occasional contributor to the Voice of Baltimore, Tony’s poetry, humor and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore; Magic Octopus Magazine; Destination Maryland, and Tales of Blood and Roses.