NEW YORK: Renewed protests against U.S. President Donald Trump flared on the Presidents Day holiday, with grassroots activists vowing to take to the streets in dozens of cities in “Not My President’s Day” rallies. Protest leaders had said they expected thousands to rally in about 28 cities ranging from Los Angeles and Chicago to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the latest round of demonstrations to express displeasure with Trump’s policies and pronouncements. In New York, hundreds of protesters stretching at least eight blocks chanted “He cheats, he lies, open up your eyes” near the Trump International Hotel on the edge of Central Park. “I think he’s got a mean personality,” said marcher Edith Cresmer, a 78-year-old urban planner. “But the worst thing about him is how he incited peoples’ fears and pits them against each other.” Luis Llobera, 38, and his wife and baby took a train from Westchester County north of the city attend the Trump protest. “We are not American citizens but our son is,” he said as his wife cradled their 7-month-old, Atlas. “We want to make sure our son has a government that is right and good.” Organizers of the New York rally said they opposed the Trump agenda, including proposed cuts in federal spending and construction of a wall along the border with Mexico.
“Donald Trump is literally our president, but figuratively, he has attacked every value New Yorkers embody and does not represent our interests,” organizers said on Facebook. The idea for the Presidents Day protests originated in Los Angeles, where about 4,300 people had said on Facebook they would attend a City Hall rally, according to organizers, and it spread to other locales via social media. In downtown Chicago, about 1,200 people gathered across the Chicago River from the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Signs spotted in the crowd included “My body My Choice” and “Jesus was a refugee,” references to Trump’s anti-abortion stance and his efforts to stop admission of refugees. As people gathered, a group of 25 local musicians called themselves #SAHBRA, “Sousaphones Against Hate, Baritones Resisting Aggression,” played songs to lighten the mood. With Monday being a day off for many schools, many parents brought their children to the protest. Eileen Molony, a photographer from Oak Park, had her 12-year-old son and 9-year old daughter in tow. “As an immigrant family we feel strongly against the ban,” she said. “We feel America is about inclusion, but everything Trump has shown is that he’s about division.” Chicago police reported no arrests in the protest, the latest in a series since Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Recent anti-Trump protests have included a “general strike” on Friday, a day after thousands of immigrants across the United States stayed away from work and school to highlight the contributions of foreign-born residents to the U.S. economy. On Saturday, Trump staged a rally for supporters in Florida at a Melbourne aircraft hangar to attack the media and tout his accomplishments in office. Presidents Day is the unofficial name of the holiday honoring the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the first and 16th U.S. presidents, respectively.