Thousands of anti-Trump protesters voice pessimism, call for unity in I-94 protest

The rally began outside the Humphrey School of Public Affairs early Thursday evening.

on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Protesters shut down I-94 in response to Donald Trump's election.

Chris Dang

on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Protesters shut down I-94 in response to Donald Trump's election.

Ryan Faircloth, David Clarey, and Jessie Bekker

Over a thousand protestors marched down Interstate 94 Thursday evening as part of an anti-Donald Trump rally that began outside of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

The crowd — protesting President-elect Trump — was peaceful, but energetic as it marched down the road holding signs, chanting and expressing disbelief at the Republican’s victory. Socialist Alternative MN co-hosted the event with at least 17 other student and community advocacy organizations, including Students for a Democratic Society and Black Lives Matter St. Paul.

“I’ve been feeling very pessimistic since the result of the election,” said Anna Vitale, one of the protesters in Cedar-Riverside. “And I think this is a good reason to come together and unite against a common cause, this was a lot bigger than I expected it to be.”

Police shut down 19th Avenue South to allow protesters to march to Cedar-Riverside from the Humphrey School. From there, the protest snaked from Cedar Avenue to East Franklin Avenue onto I-94 and was eventually directed off of the interstate back onto Cedar Avenue.

Protesters voiced a number of concerns about a Trump presidency, including his plan to deport undocumented immigrants, Muslims and his denial of climate change — which he later took a step back from.

Though one wouldn’t expect to see a Trump supporter at the event, Nathan Studanski, a University computer science senior, said part of the reason he voted for Trump was “because all these people are generalizing people into racists and misogynists and white supremacists.”

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton didn’t escape criticism from protesters either, as some at the rally lamented on how the party chose her despite low favorability ratings.

“To me, what this shows is that the Democratic Party failed to stop Trump, and that people need to organize movements to fight back against some of the stuff he’s saying,” said Chris Gray, an organizer with Socialist Alternative MN.

Carson Landvik-Geyen, a Dunwoody College of Technology senior, said Trump’s talk of banning people from the country worries him the most, especially because he has family members who are of Muslim descent. “It’s just unacceptable,” he said. 

Outside the Humphrey School, protesters chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, Trump has got to go,” and “White silence is violence,” while holding up signs that read “Build the resistance against Trump” and “Not my president.”

“To put it into context, yesterday was my day to be sad,” said Mckenzie Veselik. “Today was my day to be mad.”