“Not my president!” Activists chanted outside the Athens courthouse at the International Socialists Organization rally for solidarity Friday evening. The event drew an estimated 200 people to protest President Trump’s inauguration and rally together as allies against the bigotry, racism and hatred they believe Trump perpetuates.
The Athens rally was one of many protests across the nation, including the Women’s March on Washington, which is being called the largest international women’s march movement and the largest inaugural protest in U.S. history. The march protested the current administration and many of Trump’s prospective policies.
The speakers at the ISO rally included members of the Multicultural Activist Coalition, F–kRapeCulture, the Feminist Equality Movement, the International Socialist Organization and concerned local citizens.
Due to the controversial nature of the rally, a few activists wore masks to protect their identities. One participant explained that the masks were not a statement, but that he had recently applied to a job that did not allow him to participate in activism. Even so, he felt passionate enough to come out and join the rally.
Although it appeared as a protest, many of the speakers used the platform as a rallying point, including Gaby Godinez from the Multicultural Activist Coalition. She called for open ears and willingness to hear opposing views. She spoke from the heart about her experience with intersectional oppression as a queer, Latina immigrant.
“I didn’t really expect to have this kind of support in favor of oppressed people. But I also have a challenge for everyone here, and it’s a very unpopular opinion. All of us have to start talking to the other side. I know that’s really difficult, and it takes a lot of patience and a lot of restraint, but it’s very important to listen to the other side about why they’re upset, because honestly this is just lashing out.”
Some Trump supporters mingled in the crowd, listening to the events, but some drove past, honking horns and flipping middle fingers at the gathered activists. Other drivers honked their horns and gave thumbs up through their windows.
— erin franczak (@erin_franczak11) January 20, 2017
The protesters then marched through the streets of Athens, which police confirmed was legal due to a parade permit. Chants ranged from “This is what democracy looks like,” “Black lives matter,” and “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here,” to more extreme chants like “F*ck the bourgeoisie” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”
The demonstration ended with a solidarity clap, and the gathered people were invited to go to Scripps 111 to watch the anti-inauguration: a live-stream of protests in Washington D.C.