Donald Trump gave his oath of office Friday morning to become the 45th president of the U.S. and was met with protests nationwide, including at the University of Minnesota.
Students, campus groups and faculty members walked out of classes and met outside the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at 1 p.m. Friday. The protesters joined a larger group of students and other activists — led by the “Resist from Day One” coalition — to protest and walk to Minneapolis City Hall by evening.
Graduate Student Matt Boynton, organizer for Students for a Democratic Society, said the group was following calls for a walkout made by the SDS’ national organization.
The University students were joined by groups from both Augsburg and Macalester Colleges, Boynton said.
The groups were also met by over 30 middle school students who left their classes at the nearby Marcy Open School.
Outside the Humphrey School, nearly 300 protesters shouted chants of “Hey-hey, ho-ho, Donald Trump has got to go” and waved signs with messages of disapproval toward the new president, some of which incorporated swastikas.
“I’m here to protest fascism,” Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies professor Zenzele Isoke told the crowd. “To express feelings that [Trump] is illegitimate as a president.”
Political Science junior and Socialist Alternative Club Member Patrick Roberts said Trump was a “horrible candidate” who relied on racism, sexism and “violence of minorities” to win the race.
Faculty and students from the University art department designed protest posters with the student group Bohemian Press.
Alexis Boxer, organizer for Sierra Club Minnesota and spokesperson for Resist from Day One, said the coalition wanted to protest Trump’s choices of cabinet members like Rick Perry for energy secretary and Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State.
“This isn’t just about Trump,” said biology sophomore Abel Woldu. “It is about fighting hatred.”
After 2 p.m., those who met at the Humphrey school had moved further into the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, collecting more participants as they moved down Cedar Avenue towards Franklin Avenue. Chants of “Whose streets? Our streets!” accompanied the demonstrators.
Over the next hours, they would stop periodically at intersections for extended speeches, often from student group and community leaders. Bystanders stopped and watched as the crowd moved around and past them.
Minnesota Student Association President Abeer Syedah said later, in front of City Hall, that it was important for protesters to speak out about establishing a sanctuary campus at the University.
“Today will be the day that the most privileged among us must get on our level,” Syedah said.
Once at East Franklin Avenue and Chicago Avenue, the group merged with the Black Snake Resistance March — Native Americans who also planned to walk to City Hall while raising concerns over indigenous issues and pipeline resistance.
Mike Forcia, Twin Cities’ chairman of the American Indian Movement, spoke with the crowd just before 3 p.m. Meanwhile, students from Hiawatha College Prep — which serves students from fifth to eighth grade — performed traditional dances in the streets to support native rights.
Around 3:30 p.m., protesters burned an effigy of President Trump on the corner of Nicollet and Franklin Avenues. At that time, the body of protesters reached a larger group, ranging in the thousands, led by the Resist from Day One coalition.
Over the course of the day, speakers and organizers continuously evoked a high level of energy from the crowd.
Nathan Klish, of SDS, repeated to the marching protesters points he made earlier at the Humphrey School. Klish condemned University President Eric Kaler’s leadership and University administration generally.
He criticized Kaler’s high salary and indecision over making the University a sanctuary campus for undocumented students.
“We need change, and the only way to create that change is to use our bodies and our voices to demand it,” Klish said.
The crowd, continuing chants and even raising a paper mache likeness of Trump’s bloodied head skewered on a pole, followed Nicollet Avenue toward Downtown Minneapolis.
When they finally reached their destination at around 5 p.m., they found the doors to City Hall locked due to the size the protest had reached, and were not allowed inside.
Instead, the group set up on the open square between the Hennepin County Government Center and City Hall, where they continued chants and speeches.
For around a 20-minute span, some protesters stood blocking a west-bound light rail train in front of City Hall, where they ignited red smoke and fireworks.
The protests dispersed around 6:30 p.m., and no arrests were made according to a statement from the Minneapolis Police Department.