Trump Inauguration Protests Sweep Across Bay Area

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Protestors gathered on the Golden Gate Bridge at about 10 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2017. The participants linked hands while cheering and wearing purple. Their demonstration acted as a message against President Donald Trump. (Erasmo Martinez/KQED)

Post updated at 11:45 p.m.

Thousands of protesters, many wearing purple rain slickers and pink pussyhats, formed a human chain across the Golden Gate Bridge on Friday to demonstrate against the inauguration of Donald J. Trump.

The Bridge Together Golden Gate event was described as "a collaborative, grassroots, community-based demonstration, and performance art piece," according to the organizer's website. The color purple was chosen because it represents anti-bullying.

San Francisco resident Terry Hong attended the bridge protest and said he wasn't "politically active by nature" but was thinking about the next four years and how he could resist some Trump administration policies locally and across the state.

"As the son of immigrants, I am very concerned about how there's been a lot of rhetoric that is xenophobic, misogynistic," Hong said. "I wouldn't tolerate that kind of rhetoric from my neighbor, co-worker, my boss and certainly not my president."

Protestors gathered across the Golden Gate Bridge at about 10 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2017. The participants linked hands while cheering and wearing purple. Their demonstration acted as a message against President Donald Trump.
Protesters gathered across the Golden Gate Bridge at about 10 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2017. The participants linked hands while cheering and wearing purple. Their demonstration acted as a message against President Donald Trump. (Erasmo Martinez/KQED)

It was just one among many planned protests as thousands of demonstrators fanned out across the Bay Area in response to Trump's inauguration. Protests are expected throughout the day and massive Women's Marches are planned for Saturday.

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In San Francisco, hundreds of protesters gathered at Justin Herman Plaza at the foot of Market Street on Friday morning and marched through downtown chanting "Not my president!" and "What do we do? Stand up, fight back!" Others carried signs that read "Black Lives Matter" and "Stop Trump, Evictor in Chief. Sanctuary City for all!"

Activists stopped to protest outside the San Francisco Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, Wells Fargo and the Israel Consulate, chanting "No more walls."

Alondra Aragon, who works at Poder, an economic and environmental justice nonprofit in the Mission District, protested in downtown San Francisco. She's expecting her first child.

"Once I found out Trump got elected I was like, oh my God, how am I going to raise a son, especially a person of color, in this world, especially in this society," Aragon said. "So I was kind of nervous ... but now that I'm in my third trimester, and I'm about to have him, I'm ready, and I'm excited because I'm going to raise a warrior. Just like they say, it takes a village to raise a child. This is my village in San Francisco, and yes, we're being gentrified, but we're still here. And this is why I'm here."

A San Francisco Police Department spokeswoman said 17 people had been arrested outside Uber headquarters in San Francisco. Bay City News reported that eight people had chained themselves to the front doors of the building on Market Street between 11th Street and Van Ness Avenue to protest Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who served as an adviser to Trump.

Shortly after 8:30 a.m., protesters in San Francisco blocked Caltrain tracks at 16th Street, stopping trains and causing major service delays. A Caltrain spokeswoman said a dispersal order was issued at 10:30 a.m. Transit police, with the assistance of SFPD officers, arrested 12 protesters at the site. Trains started moving through the area again at 11:30 a.m.

Demonstrations continued into the evening, with more than 1,000 people gathering at San Francisco's U.N. Plaza.

The crowd marched peacefully to the Mission District and back to City Hall.

Erwin Kelly, an 85-year-old resident of the Castro, said he's more concerned about Donald Trump than any other president in his lifetime.

"It was never as serious as this," he said, adding that he plans to push his city to protects immigrants from deportation. "They can’t take our immigrants away from us. ... I’m willing as an 85-year-old man to stand in any doorway where we have to stand to keep them from taking a family apart."

In Oakland, protesters began gathering in the morning outside the city's Federal Building for a day of demonstrations.

“I think it’s important that the voice of the people is heard and that the majority of us in this country don’t think what’s happening with this election is normal and it’s not what we support,” Oakland resident Leah Ricci said.

“I think it’s good that we now know the face of this institutionalized racism," Oakland resident Meg Allen said. "I think once you bring it out in the open, you can address it."

By nearly 6 p.m., about 300 demonstrators had gathered at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland and began a march south on Broadway into Chinatown flanked on both side by a heavy police presence, most officers on foot and some on motorcycles and bicycles.

Protesters chanted, "Racist, sexist, anti-gay. Donald Trump go away" and "No more presidents."

UC Berkeley student Anisha Chemmachel carried a sign with the James Baldwin quote, "If I love you I must make you conscious of things you do not see." She explained why she was at the demonstration before the march began.

"I guess the simplest answer would be to vocalize my dissent and to vocalize my solidarity with the marginalized groups that are specifically targeted by this Trump administration ..." Chemmachel said. "Groups like immigrants, groups like Muslim individuals in this country, like laborers, like my queer peers. Folks who have been either directly or indirectly targeted or will be affected by upcoming legislation."

A large constant Oakland police presence flanked marchers, preventing them from largely shifting away from a path that was being set by law enforcement.

Protesters eventually wound up back at Frank Ogawa Plaza by 8 p.m., and the crowd's numbers thinned quickly. The protest was peaceful, but an Oakland police officer told KQED one protester had been arrested.

Bay City News reported on protests from the South Bay:

Protesters braved heavy rain in the South Bay to march in San Jose.

The protesters started gathering in Plaza de Cesar Chavez before the planned rally at 11 a.m. The march left the plaza on its way to the federal building and City Hall just before noon.

Protesters are carrying signs reading "Stop the unending war," "No mass deportations," "Donald ¡vete! Kleptocrat -- sexual predator," and "Not my president."

Activists focused on the environment, justice, labor and faith communities are protesting together.

"Instead of working separately, we're working together against the platform of fear and hate that the new administration brings in," Rise Up spokeswoman Shaunn Cartwright said. "By uniting, we will rise above this and we will resist the fear and hate."

Brett Bymaster, a pastor at The River church community in San Jose, said he lives in the predominantly Latino Washington community in downtown San Jose.

"I am an evangelical Christian, and I definitely did not vote for Donald Trump," Bymaster said. "We're big supporters of undocumented immigrants and really want to fight for people's rights."

"We cannot tolerate the mass deportation, trying to portray Latinos as criminals and rapists," San Jose resident Omar Vasquez, a 37-year-old bus driver and Peruvian immigrant, said. "He's doing the same thing with Muslims, right? Telling them that they are terrorists."

KQED's Devin Katayama, Ted Goldberg, Erasmo Martinez, Tara Siler, Eli Wirtschafter and Alex Emslie contributed to this report.

This post contains reporting from Bay City News.