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Trump Unwelcome In Philly, Thousands March In Protest

By Michael Z. Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Feb 1, 2017 - 8:52:04 PM

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Protesters in Philadelphia opposed Pres. Trump's Jan. 26 visit. Photos: Michael Z. Muhammad

PHILADELPHIA—On a blustery rain swept day more than 5,000 protesters clogged downtown streets to protest a visit by newly elected President Donald Trump. President Trump was in the city to address a GOP retreat held in the downtown Loews Hotel.

This march came on the heels of a 50,000 strong protest just five days prior which jammed the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in solidarity with more than four million women’s rights protesters around the world.

As the marchers snaked through streets from the Municipal Service Building down to 13th and Market, they met a blockade of large garbage trucks preventing access to the hotel where the president was appearing. Police officers were on every corner. The protesters, a cornucopia of different genders and ethnicities, were standing up Jan. 26 against Mr. Trump’s stances on immigration, health care, education, the environment and other myriad issues. Their chants rang out, bouncing off of office buildings.

A cross-section of organizations and individuals participated in protest.

Thelma Aminu from Delaware told The Final Call she was protesting because she does not believe in Mr. Trump’s policies on health care or immigration. “I hope to make my voice heard today,” she said. Carlos Perez stated he was from Mexico and felt the “voice of the people” has to be known. “So I was invited to come, and I am here. I think today we are creating consciously. To know that we are not alone and have real power,” he said.

Helen Johnson from Lancaster, Penn., was concerned with health care. “I have a special need child,” she said. “I am frightened to death he will lose health coverage under Trump’s policies as well as myself.”

President Trump arrived in a city where many oppose his ideas, goals, and policies and a city that is staunchly behind the Democratic Party. The president came here a day after Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney criticized the president’s move to strip federal funds from sanctuary cities and insisted there would be no change to Philadelphia’s stance as a place where immigrants are not hounded by police.

Mayor Jim Kenney did not meet with the president during his brief visit nor was he scheduled to do so. In published reports, he encouraged Republican visitors to see Philadelphia as a diverse, welcoming city.

Pres. Trump was in Philadelphia to meet with Republican lawmakers much to the chagrin of residents who protested his visit.

As has been his habit, President Trump antagonized city residents and leaders. “Right now, too many families don’t feel secure. Just look at the 30 largest cities. In the last year alone, the murder rate has increased by an estimated 14 percent. Here in Philadelphia, the murder rate has been steady, I mean, just terribly increasing,” he said. In fact, the murder rate in the city has been steady. The years 2013 and 2014 mark the lowest murder rate in decades, according to police statistics. Mr. Trump’s remarks were met with a firestorm of criticism. Mayor Kenny characterized the president as a “purveyor of “fake facts.” Senator Bob Casey tweeted: “I will not stand by as @realdonaldtrump falsely maligns the city of Philadelphia. I will counter his #alternativefacts with the real ones.”

President Trump appears to have an uncanny ability to bring together large, diverse coalitions. The Philadelphia protest reflected this as protesters came from a large myriad of activists, including Black Lives Matter, ACT-UP Philadelphia, the Center for Popular Democracy, Put People First! PA, Housing Works, and POWER. A large contingent of office workers participated on their lunch break.