This past weekend hundreds of people gathered throughout San Diego to protest the election of Republican nominee Donald Trump as the President-elect of the United States. One of the first protests took place this last Friday in Chicano Park and was organized by Unión del Barrio. This independent political organization “promotes and defends the human rights and class interest of la Raza (the race)” to spread awareness and have Hispanic voices heard.
During the duration of the protest, police officers were stationed at the corner of Cesar E Chavez Parkway and Kearny Avenue to maintain the nearby crowds. According to San Diego Police Officer Jerry Owens the people had the right to protest and the presence of the police was primarily for the people who wished to “protest the protest.”
However, Christina Flores a sophomore at California State University, San Marcos was wary of the officers. “I am scared that there are a f—— caravan of police officers,” said Flores. “We are surrounded and this a peaceful protest and I don’t know why they are here. They are using intimidation tactics to scare us away.”
Throughout the night Unión del Barrio brought out multiple speakers that quoted Trump’s various speeches on his viewpoints regarding immigration and women’s rights. The community stated on their Facebook page, “Now more than ever we must continue to organize and continue to build a better future for our communities, one free of injustices and prejudices.”
Debra Villegas, San Diego State University Alumni and elementary school teacher expressed that, in her opinion, a peaceful protest is the key to real change and improvement. “The kids do stand up and speak their minds but in a respectful way,” said Villegas. “That way, it doesn’t defeat the purpose of why they are hitting the streets and the safety of children across the nation that are being abused already and attacked by both sides.”
On the other side of the political fence, Roman Oliman a PLNU freshman political science major and Trump supporter spoke out against the protest as a whole, believing no sign or flag will bring any change. “I don’t think these protests would have made a difference,” said Oliman in an email interview. “These protests are just proving the hypocrisy and hatred. I am Hispanic and I find it racist that liberals say that minorities are in danger. The clear majority of these protesters are ignorant to Mr. Trump’s policies and are too altruistic.”
Another protest took place last Saturday in Balboa Park. People lined the streets of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way chanting, “We reject the president elect” and “My body, my rights” as cars passed honking their horns in support while police officers were in attendance close by.
Yet James Bork, United States Navy Veteran, was one of the many who attended the protest in hopes to make his voice heard. “I came down today because this last presidential race was unfair,” said Bork. “As an American citizen, I don’t believe that hate should win.”
Many protesters sympathized with Bork’s feelings and displayed signs that read, “Dump Trump! Hate isn’t welcomed in our state!” and “Students Against Bigotry.”
Genesis Ojeda, a junior at Azusa Pacific University said “This protest is meant to have our voices be heard and for people get the message we are not happy with the outcome we received on Tuesday night.”