Downtown crowd protests President Trump - Albuquerque Journal

Downtown crowd protests President Trump

A group gathers at First and Central to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump Friday evening. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)
A group gathers at First and Central to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump Friday evening. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

About 100 people gathered in the steady rain in Downtown Albuquerque on Friday night to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump, mirroring similar protests in cities across the country.

Samantha Bicknell, third from right, and Ivan Hernandez, fourth from right, both University of New Mexico students listen to speakers during the rally on UNM's Cornell Mall outside of Popejoy Hall against President Trump's policies and campaign promises about an hour after Trump was sworn into office, Friday. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Samantha Bicknell, third from right, and Ivan Hernandez, fourth from right, both University of New Mexico students listen to speakers during the rally on UNM’s Cornell Mall outside of Popejoy Hall against President Trump’s policies and campaign promises about an hour after Trump was sworn into office, Friday. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

The group organized at the corner of First and Central before marching west on Central and then up and down area streets.

Some of the protesters carried signs that read, “Fight Trump and the Whole System,” and “Fight War, Poverty and Racism,” as the group chanted, “No KKK, no racists, USA, no Trump!”

The rally blocked traffic as it moved through the streets, and some drivers honked their horns, but there were no clashes.

Billie Little drove down from Santa Fe with her 17-year-old son to attend the rally. She said she is heartbroken that the country elected someone like Trump.

“It makes me so sad that (the country) is not leading with love and kindness and justice, we’re leading with hate,” she said. “I think for the next four years we’re going to really have to stand up and fight.”

Little said she plans to attend a march and rally in Santa Fe in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington today. She said she will also continue to attend rallies and work for change throughout Trump’s presidency.

After weaving through Downtown streets, the marchers paused in front of Albuquerque Police Department headquarters at Fourth and Roma NW, and a couple of speakers addressed the crowd through a loudspeaker.

The speakers spoke not only against Trump and racism, but also against the instances in which Albuquerque police have shot citizens, especially the mentally ill.

The group then marched back to First and Central before wrapping up with several more speakers.

An event earlier in the day at the University of New Mexico was quieter.

A student-led rally at noon on the campus northern side drew between 100 to 200 participants. Several people, whose causes ranged from access to birth control to undocumented immigrants, spoke at the rally.

A dozen or so people held up signs that said, “I’m scared,” “cabinet of deplorables,” or, “The system elected Trump, not the people.” A handful of people wearing Trump shirts and hats did attend the event.

One passer-by shouted “Make America Great Again,” Trump’s motto during the election, and then yelled, “Build that (expletive) wall.” That act drew jeers and boos from the crowd.

Hillary Clinton won New Mexico in the presidential election.

Nathan Siegel, a junior at UNM, organized the rally and said it was about empowering others in the face of the Trump presidency. And Selene Vences, an undocumented student who is part of the immigrant advocacy group NM Dream team, said she spoke at the rally because her silence was hurting more than speaking.

“We can’t stay quiet for the next four years,” she said.

Other speakers promised to protest a Trump presidency while others extolled the virtue of coming together.

Grant Albert, a freshman wearing a Trump shirt, said he came to see “how the left feels about things.”

“I think it’s kind of silly they’re not going to accept the president,” Albert said.

He and other students attracted the attention of those at the rally. The conversation between both parties was enlivened, but seldom devolved into shouting. Though someone did call a Trump supporter being interviewed by the Journal an “inbred expletive.”

People stayed for most of the hour long rally despite overcast skies and chilly winds. They dispersed without incident.

Journal digital editor Robert Browman contributed to this report.

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