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6000 join massive Minnesota protest against Donald Trump inauguration

By Kim DeFranco and staff |
January 21, 2017
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Banners at front of Minneapolis Jan.20 protest against Trump.
Banners at front of Minneapolis Jan.20 protest against Trump. (Photo by Kim DeFranco)
6000 protesters rally in downtown Minneapolis to oppose Trump agenda
6000 protesters rally in downtown Minneapolis to oppose Trump agenda

Minneapolis, MN - Jan. 20 was a day of national Inauguration Day Anti-Trump protests. The Resist from Day One Coalition, a coalition of over 80 Twin Cities local and grassroots organizations, brought 6000 people to march and rally to reject the Trump administration’s dangerous agenda. The day included a long march with three separate rallying points, until the final stop at the Hennepin County Government Center Plaza, which is also known as People’s Plaza.

As people gathered at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue, they were greeted by many speakers and chants that hyped up their resolve to be united and fight back as Trump’s policies are rolled out in the coming weeks and months. The people’s chants of “Not our president!” could be heard for miles.

Many groups and individuals spoke out about the threats the new administration poses to Minnesotans and communities of the Twin Cities. Topics covered ranged from immigration; attacks on Muslims; women's issues; foreign policy; students on education; workers and economic attacks; police violence; political repression; Indigenous struggles; racist discrimination; LGBTQ, and the climate crisis.

Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), which spearheaded the coalition said, “We believe that no human being is illegal and no families should be separated by deportation. We pledge to resist Trump’s unjust attacks on immigrants.” That pledge was repeated from the crowd.

Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric has fanned the flames of xenophobia in the U.S. One of the major issues raised as a cornerstone of the new Trump administration is a rabidly anti-immigrant agenda that would do irreparable harm to families across the country, compounding the tragedy of the record numbers of deportations that happened under Obama.

Many programs and agencies stand to lose support and funding under the new administration, including programs that provide critical social services to many people in our local communities. Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee said, “The women of the Welfare Rights Committee have been battling sexism, racism, poor-bashing and bigotry for over 20 years - from both Republicans and Democrats. We have faced off against Trump-like crap before, as we struggle for basic income and dignity for poor families. So, we will not let this orange clown get us down!”

“No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA,” was one chant as the crowd moved from towards the second rallying point. As the marchers passed, many neighbors, workers and customers came out to cheer them on. The numbers of marchers grew every block as more protesters joined in.

As the march continued, many chants filled the air. “Sexist, racist, anti-gay, Donald Trump go away!” “Donald Trump, let’s be clear, refugees are welcome here!” “Trump says ‘go back,’ we say ‘fight back!’”

At the second rallying point, feeder marches joined in. The Black Snake Resistance March and a walkout of students at the University of Minnesota, Augsburg College and various high schools and elementary students merged together and walked to the Peoples’ Plaza.

At People’s Plaza - a nickname earned for the Hennepin County Government Plaza during the 2011 Occupy movement, which took over the space over for weeks - Jess Sundin, member of the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar and Freedom Road Socialist Organization, welcomed participants, and spoke of need to build a movement to defeat Trump’s attacks and drive him from office. Other speakers highlighted anti-Muslim attacks, police violence, and students fighting to make their campuses sanctuaries for undocumented students.

Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME 3800, the Clerical Workers Union at the University of Minnesota, spoke, "Trump has already signaled very clearly that it's open season on workers and our unions. President Trump has also made it clear that he is prepared to carry out massive attacks on our immigrant and Muslim co-workers and communities. Our union has always worked to create solidarity across differences, to expand our rights, and to unite all people in our efforts to improve working and living standards.”

“We have been here before and we will get through this,” stated Chauntyll Allen from Black Lives Matter-Saint Paul. She had the crowd repeat, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support one other. We have nothing to lose but our chains,” a quote from Assata Shakur. She also led the crowd in a remembrance of the names Black and Brown people who were killed police in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

A speaker on indigenous struggles ended with a chant, “We stand with Standing Rock!”

As the rally came to a close, Sundin urged the crowd to be ready to protest on the hundredth day Trump’s presidency stating, “Join us on May 1, International Workers’ Day!” The crowd was asked, “Will you be with us?” They roared back “Yes!” which led into the finally chant, “Dump Trump!”

Sparked by the election of Trump, the Resist From Day One Coalition MN was created to bring together a growing list of Twin Cities groups and individuals to unite in defending the communities against the racist, anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-Muslim, anti-woman, anti-environment, anti-LGBTQI agenda of the Trump administration and beyond.