National News

Anti-Trump, anti-racism rallies across US draw thousands

Posted August 15

Shouting "Shame!, Shame! Shame!" anti-Trump protesters awaited the President as he returned to New York City Monday night for the first time since taking office.

Shortly after 9 p.m., the President's motorcade pulled up to Trump Tower, but approached from a direction that bypassed the thousands of demonstrators.

Hours before, protesters and a small group of supporters, lined up across the street from Trump Tower and the nearby blocks on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.

As supporters carrying American flags shouted "God bless President Trump," anti-Trump protesters chanted, "No KKK, No Fascist USA, No Trump!"

Three people were arrested amid the protests at Trump Tower Monday evening, NYPD Detective Hubert Reyes told CNN. All three have been charged with reckless engagement, obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest, Reyes said.

The protests come two days after clashes broke out Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, as counterprotesters met white nationalists and other right-wing groups at the site of the "Unite the Right" event. Counterprotester Heather Heyer was killed when a gray Dodge Challenger rammed into a crowd walking down a street.

Trump, facing mounting bipartisan pressure, condemned white supremacists and neo-Nazis in a brief statement to reporters at an event at the White House on Monday.

But many say the President was two days too late.

'Feels good to be home'

Shortly after Trump arrived in New York, he declared on Twitter, "Feels good to be home after seven months, but the White House is very special, there is no place like it... and the U.S. is really my home!"

But after a day where he finally called out the KKK and neo-Nazis by name following criticism of his statement on Saturday, two other tweets drew attention Monday night. Shortly before leaving the White House he wrote, "Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied...truly bad people!"

Amid the protests in New York, die hard Trump supporter Mario Laboy acknowledged that Trump should have denounced white supremacy sooner, but said he still has faith in the President.

"I've been here every day. I'm going to be here tomorrow, I'm going to be here Wednesday. I'm going to be here every day to support Trump. Like I told you before, I said Mr. President you are wrong," he told CNN.

"It's only been six months. It's four years, he's going to do the correct job. Condemning those neo Nazis, white supremacists and bringing the people together black, Hispanic and everyone..."

Others across the country focused less on Trump and more on the rise of hate groups in the US and frustration with Confederate statues and other symbols of white supremacy.

Anti-racism rally in suspect's hometown

In Maumee, a suburb about 10 miles southwest of Toledo, Ohio, about 100 protesters gathered outside St. Paul's Church to denounce racism.

Maumee is where 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., the man accused of running down counterprotesters in Charlottesvile, Virginia, lives.

"The hatred has just been growing and these groups are crawling out of the sewer now," Michael Bates, a Toledo resident and Vietnam War veteran, told CNN affiliate WTVG.

Bates came to Maumee with his family and said he felt compelled to do something after the violence in Charlottesville and Heyer's death.

"When I think about that girl, it hurts," Bates said, holding back tears. "If I could give her mother a hug, I would. Stuff like that isn't supposed to happen here."

For others in the crowd, the tragedy in Charlottesville is an example of the overt racism that's not surprising to black people.

"As a person of color, it's something that's always apart of your life," Ashley Bunn, a member of the Toledo NAACP and Toledo Young Black Professionals board member, told CNN affiliate WTVG. "It's a consistent reality that you live with."

Other rallies across the US

Thousands gathered at two rallies in Salt Lake City, Utah, to condemn white supremacy and racism on Monday as well.

On the steps of the Capitol, Lt Gov. Spencer Cox spoke of democracy -- at times speaking over a protester defending the white nationalists at Saturday's "Unite Rally" in Charlottesville, CNN affiliates KSL and KSTU reported.

"To those full of hate, like this gentlemen behind me, we say this 'we will defend your right to peaceful assembly, and will allow you to do that because we do not fear you.'"

In Durham, North Carolina, demonstrators gathered at the old Durham County courthouse around the Confederate Soldiers Monument and toppled the nearly century-old statue.

A person climbed a ladder and tied a rope to the top of the statue as the crowd chanted, "We are the revolution."

Protesters pulled the rope and erupted in cheers as the statue toppled onto the ground. Several people ran up to the mangled statue, kicking it and spitting on it.

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