Less than an hour after President Trump took the oath of office Friday, protesters thronged to Boston Common to denounce him, surging in the evening toward City Hall, where they briefly clashed with some of his supporters.
Angelina Carbini held up a small white sign during an afternoon demonstration that reflected her despair: “You won. We lost. Please don’t destroy us.”
The 43-year-old from Arlington had left work shortly after the inauguration to join scores of protesters after seeing a Facebook post about the demonstration. Those protesters later joined hundreds of others in Dewey Square, before marching back to Boston Common, where the crowds swelled.
“Like a lot of people who didn’t vote for Trump, I’m scared of his radical, inconsistent ideas,” Carbini said. “What’s worse is that he’s now a crazy man with power.”
By late afternoon, the protesters packed much of the northeastern portion of the Common, and police began closing streets.
Tensions rose at about 7:45 p.m., when nearly 1,000 demonstrators made their way to the edges of City Hall Plaza and were met by about two dozen Trump supporters, who launched into chants supporting the president.
The dueling factions avoided any violence, however, except for one instance when a man swung a stick at a Trump supporter, narrowly missing him before police arrived and made the aggressor stop.
Earlier in the day, Dan Vorosmarty, who had driven to Boston from Barrington, N.H., to express concerns about the election, held a sign that read: “That moment you realize you’re stuck in the alternate timeline from ‘Back to the Future II,’ where Marty accidentally gives the Sports Almanac to. . . Donald Trump?!”
His wife carried a sign with this message to Trump: “Your business interests are not our interests.” It added: “Climate change is real – the government must act” and “We want peace – nuclear disarmament. Not expansion.”
Trump has repeatedly called climate change “a hoax” and has written that it’s a concept “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”
He has also said that some countries, such as Japan and South Korea, would be better off if they were to develop nuclear weapons.
About 100 students and employees from Northeastern University marched from the campus to Boston Common, where they chanted against Trump and called for those who opposed his policies to join them.
On their signs, they scrawled, “Not My President” and “Love over Hate.”
Later, hundreds of protesters gathered in Dewey Square, chanting anti-Trump slogans in languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Chinese. They were young and old, black and white, immigrants and native Bostonians. Together, they screamed: “Donald Trump, no way! Racist, sexist, go away!”
Stephanie Alvarado, 17, came to protest from Chelsea, where many immigrants live. “I’m nervous my community could just vanish under Trump’s policies,” she said.
As the protest moved through the streets of downtown Boston, Weimin Tchen said he hoped the demonstration was a sign of a new movement. “It should be like the opposition to the Iraq war,” said Tchen, 64, of Melrose, who held a sign that read “Rise, Resist, Protect.” “This has to be a long fight.”
By about 9 p.m., the protesters had largely dispersed and the City Hall area was populated by families enjoying the Boston Winter skating rink and listening to music. Demonstrators characterized the protest as largely peaceful, and Boston police said no arrests or injuries were reported.
Matt Coyne, 26, of Burlington, who held a sign that read “Fight The Hate,” said as he left the event Friday night that he had come out to support vulnerable communities, such as gays and lesbians and people with disabilities.
“People just need to open their eyes,” Coyne said in a parking garage near the Common.
His friend, Hannah Chisholm, 19, of Nashua, agreed and suggested that failing to speak out against hateful rhetoric can be dangerous.
“Silence is violence,” she said.
Protesters at the Massachusetts State House
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