Anti-Trump group marches in light of election anniversary

By Blaise Mesa

The recent one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s election galvanized critics nationwide to vent their frustration about the 45th president.

More than 100 protesters rallied at Federal Plaza, 219 S. Dearborn St., Nov. 4 and marched north on State Street on a cold, rainy Saturday to proclaim their displeasure with the Trump administration and its policies. The protest was the first in a series organized by Refuse Fascism, an anti-Trump and anti-fascism group that plans to have multiple protests at various locations in the city and throughout the country until Nov. 18. 

“As we enter a new world, day and age, there has to be a change,” said Gregg Greer, speaker at the Nov. 4 protest and president of Freedom First International—a non-governmental research and human rights advocacy organization—to the Nov. 4 crowd. “We will stand against oppression and stomp out tyranny. Too much has happened; too many lives have been lost. I’ll give my life for this cause, and I will die for this cause.” 

Chicago was one of 22 cities participating in the nationwide protest that day, along with New York, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Before the march, activists spoke to the crowd about their growing concern for the country’s future, which was the reason they orchestrated a march toward Trump Tower. 

Refuse Fascism hopes to inspire people to rally by the hundreds and eventually millions, speakers at the event said. The group hopes the demonstrations will unite as many people as possible and grant them a voice, Refuse Fascism media liaison Tricey Morelli told The Chronicle at the protest. 

Calls to remove Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from office resonated with the crowd as chants rang out during the march and speeches.“It’s beyond redemption at this point,” said Tracy Abrusci, 59, a registered nurse and veteran from Berwyn, Illinois. “[Trump] had a chance. We’ve been in this a year now, and he had a lot of opportunities to do the right thing [but has] failed miserably.”

There was also widespread condemnation of a proposed U.S.-Mexican border wall, rolling back LGBTQ rights and provoking a nuclear war with North Korea.

“I really fear war,” said Todd Truby, 59, a sixth grade science teacher from Zion, Illinois. “[Trump’s] tweets are just disgusting, and he’s antagonizing [Kim Jong Un] in North Korea more than [he] needs to be.”

Some of those present said they hoped for major shakeups in the Republican Party, and a shift to a humanity-first attitude rather than an America-first attitude.

There are still some good and honest Republicans in Congress, said Margaret J. Nelson, 70, a professional musician from Evanston, Illinois. “Hopefully, they’ll reform their party while progressives reform the Democratic Party,” she added.

Members of Refuse Fascism pledged to continue their protests until Trump and Pence are removed from office.

“The people and the planet are depending on us. This nightmare must end,” said Lina Thorne, activist and speaker at the Federal Plaza rally. “In the name of humanity, I refuse to accept a fascist America. The Trump/Pence regime must go.”

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