Photos: Anti-Trump Protest in Columbia, SC
Just before I left Friday night's Anti-Trump protest in downtown Columbia, a couple hundred demonstrators held hands on the statehouse grounds near the intersection of Main and Rt. #1. After what seemed like moments of deliberation, the crowd broke out singing the Barney "I Love You" song. The one about every day being special when you spend it with people that you love. That one. For the 90 minutes that I was in attendance the group congregated at that spot near where the Confederate battle flag once flew and at times split off into a smaller group that marched on the sidewalks of the Vista and Main St.
"I was protesting the hate, racism, xenophobia, sexism, religious persecution, and assaults on LGBT rights that defined the rhetoric of a president who does not represent an enormous number of marginalized groups," says Rachel Barringer, a 23 year-old from Columbia who works for realty company and could be heard shouting, "MY BODY! MY CHOICE! outside of the Marble Slab on Gervais St.
"I was motivated to attend because it's important for us to come together and say that we still stand with each other and for the idea that love is greater than hate. We have to show that we still have a voice, and that we'll continue to use it to represent the marginalized, mobilize to affect change, and influence policies as much as possible. This protest was just the beginning."
Tyler Carrowan, a 30 year-old mechanical engineer from Lexington attended the gathering with his wife. "[We] came out to protest because we believe Donald Trump is the most dangerous political figure in modern times. He encourages violence, he's admitted sexually assaulting women, he admires dictators around the world, he's suggested altering libel laws to take legal action against journalists or newspapers who write what he feels are unfair articles on him. It's madness."
"The thought of banning Muslims and refugees flys in the face of everything our country stands for. We're here to stand in solidarity with all Americans who disagree with this rhetoric. We know people who are legitimately scared about the outcome of this election. We feel like we need to do whatever we can. When the KKK is celebrating and our gay and lesbian friends and POC we love like family are crying this doesn't feel like America."
For 90 minutes or so, I followed the group(s) as they navigated the sidewalks on a Friday night in the city's entertainment district. I saw a lot of grins on folks out enjoying the nightlife scene. People honked as they drove by, some yelled encouragement and others pro Trump sentiments. People laughed outside of the ice cream shop when one protestor chanted, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUVE BEEN TOLD, BUT DONALD TRUMP IS AN ASSHOLE!" There was one fairly comical, brief moment when a young male jumped in front of a news camera wearing a camo USC baseball cap and Hillary for Prison shirt and flexed his muscles. He did a dance and quickly shifted out of the crowd. It got some smiles and odd looks.
I arrived late and left early.
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