Hundreds of protesters poured onto Bay Area streets minutes after Donald Trump was declared the 45th president of the United States early Wednesday morning, blocking freeways, lighting fires and chanting, “Not our president” and “F— Trump.”
Protesters, who predominantly appeared to be students and other millennials, also burned Trump effigies, smashed windows of the Oakland Tribune newsroom, and set tires, trash and newspaper stands on fire in Oakland and Berkeley. The disturbance also forced BART officials to shut down the 12th Street Oakland City Center station. Most of the vandalism was concentrated in the 2300 block of Broadway to 7th Street starting just before midnight, police said. Despite the mayhem, no injuries were reported and just one person was cited for a vehicle code violation, police said.
All the noise and angst came hours after Trump was declared leader of the free world, a stunning upset in this liberal swath of the country.
“When our communities are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back,” railed protesters, walking through streets with their arms linked.
Police stopped protesters at Broadway and 8th Street in Oakland. “Let us through,” the crowd hollered at officers, who stood their ground.
One protester held a sign which read, “Trump is a fascist pig,” joining about 50 people who refused to disperse. Others, however, turned back around and headed to Berkeley. No one was arrested.
“I’m angry, it’s hard to accept Trump to represent our country, it doesn’t represent the best part of country,” said Berkeley City College art major Devan Tevanbentuy.
During the earlier part of the protest, a woman was struck by a car on Telegraph Avenue and Highway 24, the California Highway Patrol said.
California Highway Patrol Officer Sean Wilkenfeld said officers responded to reports of a protest at Interstate 880 and Broadway around 12:20 a.m., when they heard of pedestrians running into the eastbound lanes of Highway 24. A Honda Element hit a pedestrian in the second lane, near Telegraph Avenue.
Protesters surrounded the car and vandalized it. The woman, who sustained major injuries, was taken to an area hospital for treatment. The driver pulled over to the side of the road after the collision and cooperated with officers, Wilkenfeld said.
Officers said that the highway’s eastbound lanes were closed as emergency responders treated the severely injured pedestrian.
“Although we respect the public’s right to protest, we continue to stress the fact that the freeway is not a safe or legal place to conduct a demonstration,” CHP officers said in a statement.
University of California, Berkeley students reportedly gathered at Sproul Plaza to watch the presidential election unfold.
Malini Ramaiyer, a Daily Californian reporter, said some screamed and booed as Trump snatched up electoral votes. “We, the rational people, are a minority now,” freshman Sean Betancourt told her.
The Berkeley protest swelled to over 200 people, and spilled into Oakland city limits. People chanted, “Whose streets? Our streets,” Anderson Lanham, a UC Berkeley sophomore and reporter for the Daily Cal, said on Twitter.
Lanham credited Ilsa Carillo with spearheading the protest in the East Bay city. “We are students of color and we will not be marginalized, we will not be silenced,” Carillo said, according to Lanham’s Twitter page.
The hashtag #Berkvote was trending on Twitter with city resident Carol Coyote saying, “We need to get organized … as a nation. We cannot have a Trump presidency. This is frightening.”
Students also used the hashtags #Berkprotest and #Notmypresident.
In the South Bay, a demonstration raged at San Jose State University. Pajama-clad students crowded outside dorms, with one yelling, “I’m not giving up.” Noise complaints were filed as hundreds of protesters took to Tower Lawn, according to the Spartan Daily.
“The time for reform starts with us,” one student said to a chorus of cheers.
Another said she voted for Hillary Clinton, but her voice “was not heard” because many of her peers “did not do the same.”
Determined to be heard, San Francisco State University students also launched their own expletive-filled rally, chanting, “The people divided will never be divided.”
Students posted on Twitter that they planned to protest again at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Malcolm X Plaza on campus. Oakland protesters were scheduled to re-appear at 5 p.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Another demonstration has been planned at the same time near San Francisco’s Powell and Market Streets cable car stop.
The CHP and Oakland Police Department will increase staffing levels Wednesday as a precautionary measure, Wilkenfeld said.