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New Orleans protesters march to defeat Trump, defend people’s freedoms

By Becka McLaughlin |
November 6, 2020
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Protesters rally in front of City Hall
Protesters rally in front of City Hall to defeat Trump and demand a progressive people’s agenda (Photo by Toni Duplechain-Jones)

New Orleans, LA - On November 4, a coalition of progressive groups took to the streets under the slogan “Defeat Trump!” As the rally moved through the central business district, speakers highlighted local issues and areas of action in the city.

While the march came after the national election, it made broad demands. The group united around a shared progressive agenda and the need for more coalition actions. Marchers chanted, “Count the votes!” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” They also shouted their demands for housing, quality healthcare, economic relief, safe education, prison abolition and more.

The rally began at Lafayette Square with speakers from Democratic Socialists of America and Real Name Campaign. It was a cool, sunny day, and the crowd was small but enthusiastic. Mutual aid groups provided water, snacks, masks and hand sanitizer, and attendees were responsibly distanced. The crowd then moved to the street with several groups carrying large banners and began to march.

The next stop was in front of the New Orleans Civil District Court, where Frank Southall from the Renters Rights Assembly highlighted the eviction crisis facing the city and the country, and elected officials’ lack of action to protect housing in the middle of a global pandemic.

“The same system that created Donald Trump, the slumlord rat president, is the same system that creates artificial scarcity and evictions. Stopping evictions locally is fighting back against the same neo-liberal and authoritarian forces that create slumlords such as Trump,” said Southall.

The group continued to occupy the street and marched to the front of the city hall building to present the coalition demands, including that local elected officials must denounce Trump, and provide housing and healthcare for all.

A representative from Step Up Louisiana spoke about the need for unemployed workers to organize. A speaker from Louisiana for Personal Freedoms made a moving plea for increased cooperation among progressives to defend reproductive rights. This came after an anti-abortion amendment was put on the state’s constitution.

Local groups present were: Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunrise Movement, Real Name Campaign, Democratic Socialists of America, Step Up Louisiana, New Orleans Renters Rights Assembly, Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition, Louisiana for Personal Freedoms, Unite Here Local 23 Hospitality Workers Union, and New Orleans Mutual Aid Society.

After the rally ended in front of city hall, small groups formed in the street as individuals connected with different organizations, exchanging phone numbers and contact info. A few street medics who had attended individually shared information to coordinate for future actions. As the first public demonstration by this large coalition, it provided a valuable space for cooperation towards building a mass movement. The groups have already scheduled future coalition meetings and will continue to strategize and support each other locally.

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