For the second night in a row, they gathered outside of Trump Tower in Chicago, America’s second city. They marched through downtown, blocking lanes of traffic and chanting “not my president,” “we reject the president elect” and “Donald Trump has got to go.”
After thousands turned out on Wednesday, more than 100 showed up to protest on Thursday. Additional demonstrations are planned for the weekend.
“We don’t want Donald Trump,” said Christian Jones, a 29-year-old factory worker. “Most people prefer Hillary Clinton. The electoral ballot is what counts right now, but she won a majority of a vote.”
The scene is being repeated across the United States. Protesters have rallied in the streets of major cities – sometimes clashing with police – in the dim hope of stopping president-elect Donald Trump from the entering the Oval Office.
“They can change their minds if they think the president-elect is not qualified.”
It’s a peculiarity of the U.S. system. A candidate, like Mr. Trump, can lose the popular vote but still win the election. That’s because the 538-member Electoral College chooses the president. The votes are allocated based on the results in each of the 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C.
While most of the demonstrations to date have been peaceful, some have turned violent, especially on the more left-leaning West Coast. In the liberal north-west city of Portland, Oregon, some 4,000 demonstrators clashed Thursday night with police, who deployed tear gas and rubber rounds to disperse the crowd.
More than 100 people were arrested after demonstrations in Los Angeles, while storefront windows were broken and Molotov cocktails were thrown at police in Oakland, California.
The protests were enough to spark a reaction from the president-elect.
Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2016
Hours later, Mr. Trump modified his tone, in a second tweet writing: “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!”
The aim of the protests is to gather enough grassroots support to pressure the electoral college into voting for Ms. Clinton, who won the popular vote, when it gathers across the nation in December.
“They can change their minds if they think the president-elect is not qualified,” said Ilana Marie Bowers, a 20-year-old African-American woman and violinist who protested in Chicago.
And for Illana, Mr. Trump is clearly unqualified. The president-elect is sexist and xenophobic, she said: “I’m completely against everything Trump stands for,” Ilana said. “He’s a complete and utter bigot.”
But many of the protesters don’t believe the electoral will be swayed. Jasmine Lujano, an 18-year-old high school student, said the protests would have an impact only if they get much bigger.
“If it’s all around the world, we’ll get somewhere,” said Jasmine, who is Mexican American. “But I don’t think anything will change. A lot of people are with him.”
Jasmine said some of her high school friends are undocumented and are worried about what a Trump presidency would mean for their lives in the United States.
“How is he going to be president if he is against Mexicans, blacks and other races?” Jasmine asked.
Though some of her supporters are vowing to fight on, Ms. Clinton urged voters in her concession speech to give Mr. Trump a chance. And President Barack Obama, who met his successor on Thursday, has said that the nation must come together and root for Mr. Trump’s success.
“I think they’re trying to keep the peace,” Nourhan Elasaawy, a 25-year-old student, said of Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama. “I think they’re afraid to speak up.”
Nourhan, an Egyptian-American, said she’s worried about getting harassed for being Muslim and wearing a hijab.
“I need to advocate for all Muslim women who feel obligated to take off their hijab,” Nourhan said. “People think I’m a second-class citizen. I’m not. I’m an American citizen,” she said.
One lone Trump supporter, Austin DeWalt, turned out to counter protest, carrying a “Hillary for Prison 2016” sign. Austin said the people protesting the election result were “un-American.”
“They are anti-democracy,” Austin said. “The democracy has spoken.”
Rebecca Follenweider, a 25-year-old nursing student who showed up to protest against Mr. Trump, doesn’t dispute the election result.
“I acknowledge it,” Rebecca said. “But I refuse to accept someone who said such horrible things about women, people of color and the handicapped.”
Spencer Kimball is an editor for Handelsblatt Global based in Chicago. Christopher Cermak of Handelsblatt Global contributed to this story. To contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org