Saturday marked the first “Trump resistance rally” in Indianapolis at the Indiana State House. This protest was planned by 20-year-old Indianapolis native, Audrey Bee, after Donald Trump won the election. The rally was held as a form of resistance to the president-elect.
The idea came on election night, and the protest was organized almost entirely on Facebook.
“I was talking with local activists, community members, and my colleagues with the local chapter of the Socialist Party on election night when it was becoming clear that Trump was going to win,” Audrey said. “I knew there was going to be a high demand for an action against the president-elect so I began talking to people and a ball began rolling.”
The protest was set to begin at 5 p.m. at the state house, but many arrived early. At it’s peak, the audience was said to be at least 500 and at most 2,000. There was a DJ along with many speakers both planned and not. Some were handing out safety pins as a symbol for protesters to wear to symbolize that they are an ally.
Tension was caused when a military-styled truck with a large Trump and Pence sign started circling the protest. The protesters were told to meet this with love and chanted “love trumps hate” at the passing vehicle. Soon after this truck began to circle, three trucks carrying Mexican flags also began to circle the block, receiving support from the crowd.
Some Trump supporters came to counter protest, and others to watch. Though protesters were told to remain peaceful, some reacted negatively to supporters from the other side.
Kelly Cummins, a Trump supporter who came to watch the protest, had a lot to say about the protest.
“[The protest is] needed. You guys have a lot to vent. Hopefully it’ll stop. Give him a chance. Pray for him. He beat the republican machine. I think unfortunately for a lot of people out here, Bernie had it stolen. Part of me thinks if Bernie were the candidate, he would have won.”
Cummins said she voted for Donald Trump because her son is in the military and she felt that Trump would keep him safe by preventing war.
“Pray for our country. Pray for president-elect Trump to prove his naysayers wrong and pray for the safety of everyone out here tonight. I came to watch, listen and I’ve been spit on, I was told I was triggering people by just standing in the back and it’s a really sad place we’ve come to, and I don’t think it’s all Donald Trump’s fault.”
There were many speakers at the resistance rally, including Michael Swinford who spoke about his experience and concerns.
“I’ve lived my whole life as a gay man since a kid and I worked in the world. I have served you food, I’ve served you clothes. I’ve written you proposals, all that. I don’t have a problem with that. My parents don’t have a problem with it. No one I know has a problem with it until someone goes into office and says that’s not right,” Swinford said. “You know what? It’s not wrong or right, it’s the way it is. I look at being a gay man as me being a white man. It’s a non issue so when someone says it is an issue, I’m going to stand up.”
Swinford’s concerns were not with Trump, but with the possibility of a Pence presidency if Trump were impeached.
“What scares me the most about this presidency is Mike Pence. There’s rumors, the silly media that’s out there, the alarmists websites that said the Republicans don’t like Trump, they wouldn’t even mention his name, then I heard well here’s what their plan is. They knew he would mess up and they’re looking for an impeachment and Pence would become president and that was their plan all along.”
There were many critiques of the protest from all sides. The organizers called the protest to an end around 7:45 p.m., though many were still returning from marching to the circle. Those who stayed caused or reacted to some issues near the Indiana Repertory Theater around 8:30 p.m. Some claim that protesters were throwing rocks at police. Others claim that there were no rocks thrown, although a bottle was thrown after police arrested a woman. The public information officer said the issue was some protesters trying to encourage the crowd to incite violence against police who were arrested. Watch here.
Overall, the protest was peaceful and there was no destruction of property or vandalism.
“A friend asked me ‘why are you going to that rally? They just cause trouble,” Swinford said. “I said ‘are you kidding me? Change never happened with everyone agreeing, ever.’”
Photos by Keeley Miller.