Donald Trump praises protesters' 'passion for country' after police arrest 26 in Oregon

Protesters demonstrate against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in New Orleans, Louisiana on Nov 10, 2016.
Protesters demonstrate against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in New Orleans, Louisiana on Nov 10, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Mr Donald Trump said on Friday (Nov 11) he appreciated protesters’ passion for the country, after US police arrested 26 people in what the authorities called riots against the president-elect.  

“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!” Mr Trump said on his official Twitter account.  

But hours earlier on Thursday night, he bemoaned the protesters in another tweet.

“Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” 

Demonstrators took to the streets across the United States for a second day on Thursday to protest against Mr Trump's presidential election victory, voicing fears that the real estate mogul’s triumph would deal a blow to civil rights.

On the East Coast, protests took place in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, while on the West Coast demonstrators rallied in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland in California, and Portland, Oregon.

The protests were for the most part peaceful and orderly. But in Portland, police said a rally there had degenerated into what they called a riot because of “extensive criminal and dangerous behaviour.” 

Protesters threw objects at police in Portland and damaged a car lot, the Portland Police Department said on Twitter. Some protesters sprayed graffiti on cars and buildings and smashed windows, media in Portland said.

Dozens in Minneapolis marched onto Interstate 94, blocking traffic in both directions for at least an hour as police stood by. A smaller band of demonstrators briefly halted traffic on a busy Los Angeles freeway before police cleared them off.

 

Baltimore police reported about 600 people marched through the downtown Inner Harbor area, with some blocking roadways by sitting in the street. Two people were arrested, police said.

In Denver, a crowd that media estimated to number about 3,000 gathered on the grounds of the Colorado state capitol and marched through downtown in one of the largest of Thursday’s events. Hundreds demonstrated through Dallas.

Thursday’s gatherings were generally smaller in scale and less intense than Wednesday’s, and teenagers and young adults again dominated the racially mixed crowds. 

Police pitched special security barricades around two Trump marquee properties that have become focal points of the protests - his newly opened Pennsylvania Avenue hotel in Washington and the high-rise Trump Tower, where he lives in Manhattan.

In the nation’s capital, about 100 protesters marched from the White House, where Mr Trump had his first transition meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday, to the Trump International Hotel several blocks away.

At least 200 people rallied there after dark, many of them chanting “No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” and carrying signs with such slogans as “Impeach Trump” and “Not my president.” 

“I can’t support someone who supports so much bigotry and hatred. It’s heart-breaking,” said Mr Joe Daniels, 25, of suburban Alexandria, Virginia.

‘GIVE TRUMP A CHANCE’

 Two Trump supporters stood off to the side carrying signs reading: “All We are Saying is Give Trump a Chance” - an apparent play on lyrics from the John Lennon song “Give Peace a Chance”.

Mr Trump’s critics worry that his often-inflammatory campaign rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims, women and others – combined with support from the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists - could spark a wave of intolerance against minorities.

Anti- Trump rallies in more than a dozen major US cities on Wednesday drew thousands at the biggest gatherings in New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland, California. Protesters smashed windows, set fires and clashed with riot police in Oakland.

Taking a far more conciliatory tone in his acceptance speech early Wednesday than he had at many of his campaign events, Mr Trump vowed to be a president for all Americans.

His campaign rejected a Klan newspaper endorsement this month, saying  Mr Trump “denounces hate in any form.”  Mr Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and a high-profile Trump supporter, called the demonstrators “a bunch of spoiled cry babies” in an interview with Fox News.

Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer urged the protesters to give Mr Trump a chance once he is sworn in to office in January. “I hope that people get it out of their systems ... but then they give this man that was just elected very historically and his new vice president an opportunity to govern,” Mr Spicer told MSNBC.

In San Francisco, more than 1,000 high school students walked out of classes on Thursday morning to march through the financial district carrying rainbow flags representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, Mexican flags and signs decrying Mr Trump.

Civil rights groups and police reported an uptick in attacks on members of minority groups, some by people claiming to support Mr Trump. There were also reports of  Trump opponents lashing out against people carrying signs supporting Mr Trump.

More anti- Trump demonstrations were planned for the weekend.