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Local News

Santa Barbara Protesters Take to State Street to Demonstrate Opposition to Donald Trump

Organizers say protest’s goals were to denounce hate, educate the community and raise awareness against president-elect’s policies

More than 1,000 demonstrators gathered in De la Guerra Plaza on Saturday in opposition to President-elect Donald Trump. After a brief rally, the crowd marched down State Street to the waterfront. Click to view larger
More than 1,000 demonstrators gathered in De la Guerra Plaza on Saturday in opposition to President-elect Donald Trump. After a brief rally, the crowd marched down State Street to the waterfront. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

More than 1,000 people marched through downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday in protest of President-elect Donald Trump and his policies.

The State Street demonstration was accompanied by a visible police presence, but unlike protests in many other cities, Santa Barbara’s was a peaceful one.

“There was nothing significant and we were in communication with the organization and in collaboration to ensure safety,” Sgt. Riley Harwood told Noozhawk.

The protest, organized by People Organized for the Defense & Equal Rights of Santa Barbara Youth, or PODER, was promoted on Facebook and had more than 1,400 confirmed attendees.

Groups of people, including families with children, chanted “Love trumps hate” as they poured from De la Guerra Plaza.

Waving signs reading “Save our future, save our children;” “Demand climate action;” and “History is watching,” the crowd marched to the Dolphin Fountain sculpture at the base of Stearns Wharf.

Anti-Trump demonstrations have been held around the country since Tuesday’s unexpected victory by the Republican real-estate magnate, reality-TV star and first-time political candidate.

PODER member Candice Perez said protesters understand a march cannot change the election results, but she said the goal was to raise awareness of the opposition to Trump, his policies and his campaign statements about the environment, the working class, women, people of color, Muslims, the LGBTQ community and threats to build a wall between Mexico and the United States.

Santa Barbara police officers were a visible presence as the marchers made their way down State Street. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara police officers were a visible presence as the marchers made their way down State Street. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

“We as an organization and from the people who spoke — no one has mentioned anything about putting energy in reversing the decision of Trump as president,” Perez said. “We are moving forward with the reality and bringing awareness about the policies that he has promised.”

She blamed Trump’s statements for sparking verbal abuse and violent acts.

“My friends, families and people in Santa Barbara have been verbally and physically assaulted,” Perez said. “People have been shouting hateful things and words that Trump said in his candidacy. This is where we draw the connection.”

She said the demonstration’s central message was to denounce hate, educate the community, organize and to prepare for the next four years.

Protesters dispersed from the waterfront area around 2:30 p.m. and headed to Pershing Park, where they could learn about local organizations.

The crowd included representatives from PODER, Black Lives Matter, the Barbareño Chumash Council of Santa Barbara, CAUSE, Santa Barbara City College Feminist Club, The Lab 805, Ethnic Studies Now Coalition and Radio Occupy Santa Barbara.

Many protesters carried signs denouncing President-elect Donald Trump, his policies and campaign statements. Click to view larger
Many protesters carried signs denouncing President-elect Donald Trump, his policies and campaign statements. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Perez said the protest was intended to unite the community.

“We are encouraging people immediately to connect with one another and to connect with organizations,” she said. “Protesting is one thing, which is to come together, but we need more than that. We need to be organized. Even if people aren’t ready to sign up for an organization, get together with your friends and participate.”

Frank Rodriguez, 29, from the advocacy group CAUSE, said he is proud of the young protesters who demonstrated against Trump.

On Wednesday afternoon, students from Dos Pueblos, San Marcos and Santa Barbara high schools walked out of class in protest.

“People in California react,” Rodriguez said. “I’m proud to say I’m from Santa Barbara when I see the youth. They look forward and connect. Let’s follow the people who are leading the way, and that’s the high school students.”

He said CAUSE is focusing on implementing the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (TRUTH) act, which was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee earlier this year.

“Trump said he is going to attack people who are undocumented,” Rodriguez said. “We want to make sure this act will provide a transparent relationship between the county and municipal jails in Santa Barbara and Ventura by 2018. We want to ensure they have a transparent relationship with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The march passes under the Highway 101 overcrossing on State Street. Click to view larger
The march passes under the Highway 101 overcrossing on State Street. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)
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