In a show of defiance and frustration with the administration, a gaggle of anti-Trump demonstrators let out a collective burst of guttural shouts, shrieks and squeals in New York’s Washington Square Park Wednesday night.
The event – called Scream Helplessly at the Sky on the Anniversary of the Election – was billed as a cathartic discharge of anger at Donald Trump’s presidency and was organized in a number of cities across the country. It was sparsely attended in New York, however, drawing only about 150 attendees, much smaller than the nearly 3,000 who said they were going and the 15,000 who had expressed interest in attending on Facebook.
The protest came one night after Democrats swept numerous top offices in elections around the country, including governorships in New Jersey and Virginia. Some attendees at Wednesday’s event suggested that many would-be protesters chose to stay at home following the victories.
“No one should be celebrating or thinking things are OK because a couple of Democrats made it in,” said Reneigh Jankins, 25, who is a resident of Brooklyn and attended as part of Refuse Fascism, an organization opposed to President Trump and his administration. “It’s very scary,” she said. “It’s disturbing to see people say they’ll go and not be here right now.”
“I’m not happy with the turnout,” said event organizer Nathan Wahl, 28, adding that he was heartened by online interest but disheartened by the number of people who attended. “People are too optimistic.” Referring to last night’s elections, he added, “It’s the smallest victory. We have so much more to go.”
Lilian Forman, 81, of Manhattan, said, “I’m screaming for the end of the Trump regime and to try to wake up the Democrats.” Forman said Democrats “haven’t said much to express their horror at this regime.”
Caroline Osterman, 37, who traveled to Washington Square Park from Monmouth County in New Jersey, said, “I’m here because I hate Trump.” Osterman wore a pink “pussy” hat likes the ones that became an anti-Trump symbol following worldwide protests after the inauguration in January. “The hats have been my stress relief from the administration,” she said. “If I make a couple bucks, that’s an added bonus,” pointing to the bag of homemade hats she was selling.
Counter-demonstrators were also in attendance, at times engaging in heated exchanges with anti-Trump activists, who chanted “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.” to a steady drum beat. Trump supporters, many of whom wore red “Make America Great Again” hats to differentiate themselves in the crowd, chanted back “Seven more years” and “Hilary for Prison.” Though a few small arguments escalated to screaming matches, attendees remained orderly for the most part.
“I’m here to watch people scream at the sky and laugh because people are making fools of themselves,” said a man who asked to be identified only as Gavi, 22. He was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. “It’s sad but it’s pretty funny.”
Rachel Dunn, 28, of Brooklyn, said, “The Left didn’t have as good of a turnout as they would have liked.” She added, “They’re commemorating a defeat. That’s not really a way to get people out of the house tonight.”