As hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the Athens County Courthouse on Sunday evening to protest Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, a man driving past on Court Street yelled, “Grab America by the p—y.”
Other drivers revved their engines, honked and shouted in support or disagreement. Onlookers and passersby yelled and took pictures across the street. The demonstrators, who arrived at 7 p.m., held anti-Trump signs bearing slogans such as “f–k Trump” and “you can’t comb over hate.”
“I’m angry,” Prince Shakur, an Ohio University alumnus who attended the rally, said. “I think our government is rigged. I think people deserve to be out in the streets, angry about it.”
Organizers from the International Socialist Organization, the Multicultural Activists Coalition, F–kRapeCulture and the Hispanic Latino Student Union rallied demonstrators with a megaphone.
Demonstrators didn’t just criticize Donald Trump. They blamed the United States’ two-party system and a culture of racism and sexism for Trump’s rise to power.
The assembled crowd blocked the sidewalk at times, forcing pedestrians onto the street.
The demonstrators poured out onto Court Street chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets.” They marched several blocks through Athens and the OU campus.
As demonstrators walked by, pedestrians stopped to take pictures and videos on their phones. People watched from windows and porches. One man dropped a Trump banner from his balcony, and demonstrators chanted, “racist, sexist, anti-gay,” in response.
Jake Butler, a freshman studying business, stopped to watch the rally from the sidewalk. He said the rally seemed large, even for Athens.
“Honestly, it’s a shock,” he said. “I didn’t know that many people opposed Trump.”
Autumn Powell, an undecided freshman, watched from outside a dorm.
“I think it’s necessary,” she said. “It’s an outcry for peace and equal rights.”
Drew Glynn, an undecided junior, observed as the demonstrators marched down Mill Street. He acknowledged their freedom of speech, but called the rally “obnoxious.”
“It was an election,” he said. “It’s a democracy. Whether you supported Hillary or Trump, we’re a nation, and we can’t be divided, and this is division.”
The demonstrators returned to the courthouse after the march and continued chanting, “We reject the president-elect.”
A group of Trump supporters congregated across the street and shouted at the demonstrators, who chanted “f–k Donald Trump” in response.
“I’m sorry to see people taking pride in bigotry,” Claire Seid, an organizer of FRC, said. “I hope we can talk to them and educate them.”
Tyler Barton, an OU alumnus and ISO adviser, estimated 300 people attended the rally. He was impressed with the turnout, especially because the event had “relatively little organization.”
“It’s important to note we didn’t really do much,” Barton said. “We just made a Facebook event and told our friends, and this many people came out. I think that really speaks to the level of outrage.”
Pete Couladis, the chair of the Athens County Republican Party, said the protesters challenged the “decision of the voters.”
“They need to grow up and stop acting like little babies,” he said. “I don’t recall College Republicans protesting when Obama was elected or whining or complaining or crying. Voters decided this election, and they just need to grow up.”
Speaking to the crowd at the end of the rally, Ryan Powers, a senior studying philosophy, said he hoped the rally had shown demonstrators the power of collective action.
“This is not the end,” he said. “Tonight is the beginning.”
Originally published for The Post on November 14, 2016.