Thousands of people marched and protested through downtown Chicago on Wednesday night, voicing their disdain — in no uncertain terms — with Tuesday’s election of Donald Trump to be the 45th president.
The protest began shortly before 5 p.m. outside the Trump Tower at 401 N. Wabash.
What began as a group of a few dozen soon grew to a crowd of about 1,800 to 2,000 people after three groups combined into one, said Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
“Despite traffic disruptions, roadway obstructions and at times, individuals climbing onto vehicles, there were no major incidents,” he said in a statement, adding that a Chicago Police mounted unit, bike teams, patrol cars and tactical, saturation and gang teams all responded to the protest.
Ultimately, two men were arrested by Central District officers and charged with misdemeanor counts of obstructions of traffic in the roadway, police said. Near North District officers charged one man with reckless conduct, another with criminal trespassing and a boy with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest, all misdemeanors.
The group, which split apart and reconnected several times, was initially kept to the west side of Wabash.
After about an hour of chanting near the tower, the group began marching north on State Street before going south down the Magnificent Mile and into the Loop.
Eventually, the march made its way through Grant Park and north on Lake Shore Drive.
Lake Shore Drive was shut down in both directions between Jackson and Chicago and the march was diverted onto Grand Avenue about 8:20 p.m.
Even as they were stuck on Lake Shore Drive, several motorists, including at least one CTA bus driver, honked their horns in support.
About 9 p.m., several dozen people climbed on top of a CTA bus parked on Wacker between Wabash and Michigan.
Sam Erickson, a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago could be seen making a vulgar hand gesture several times outside the Trump Tower.
Erickson said Trump’s policies amount to fascism.
“We gotta fight this,” he said. “Donald Trump is a fascist. The idea that we can elect a guy who wants to literally deport 10 million people, who talks about banning Muslims . . . This man is apparently the president now, and we just can’t let that stand.”
At the start of the protest, about half a dozen Donald Trump supporters barked back at the anti-Trump crowd.
Anthony Moreira, of Oak Park, was the first Trump supporter there. He said Trump’s immigration stance won him over, especially since his father emigrated from Panama.
“If you want to become a citizen, do the proper thing,” he said. “Trump’s not racist, he wants things to be properly done.”
Initially billed an “emergency protest” against racism, the several of the crowd’s chants echoed the hatred of Trump’s racially charged comments made during the presidential campaign.
“No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA” was one of the most popular chants, alluding to the Ku Klux Klan’s newspaper endorsing Trump for president.
Other chants, such as “F – – – Donald Trump,” were also steady refrains.
The crowd meandered through the downtown area twice, going as far north as Chicago Avenue and, by 10:10 p.m., to Roosevelt and State in the South Loop.
Though the crowd had somewhat thinned, at least 1,000 continued marching.
About 11 p.m., protesters briefly tried to get into the Trump Tower via the loading dock entrance on Kinzie, but police quickly intervened.
About 11:15 p.m., the group of marchers re-emerged on Michigan Avenue and continued north on the Magnificent Mile, passed the John Hancock Building before turning east on Delaware.
Some in the group expressed the desire to once again march on Lake Shore Drive.
About 11:30 p.m., the group again took to Lake Shore Drive, heading south from Chestnut.
Soon after, the marchers were diverted onto the lakefront trail and Lake Shore was reopened.
Trump used Chicago as a political punching bag throughout the campaign, characterizing the city as a lawless “war zone” besieged by gang violence.
As of Nov. 9, Chicago had logged nearly 680 homicides in 2016, more than 200 more than the previous year.
Last month, the Chicago City Council voted to remove Trump’s honorary street sign in the 400 block of North Wabash, where his namesake skyscraper sits.
Thousands of protesters around the country also took to the streets Wednesday to condemn Trump’s election.
• A protest in Manhattan drew about 1,000 people. Outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in midtown, police installed barricades to keep the demonstrators at bay.
• Hundreds of protesters gathered near Philadelphia’s City Hall despite chilly, wet weather. Participants — who included both supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost to Clinton in the primary — expressed anger at both Republicans and Democrats over the election’s outcome.
• In Boston, thousands of anti-Donald Trump protesters streamed through downtown, chanting “Trump’s a racist” and carrying signs that said “Impeach Trump” and “Abolish Electoral College.” The protesters gathered on Boston Common before marching toward the Massachusetts Statehouse, with beefed-up security including extra police officers.
• Hundreds of University of Texas students spilled out of classrooms to march through downtown Austin. They marched along streets near the Texas Capitol, then briefly blocked a crowded traffic bridge.
• In Washington, D.C., marchers chanted and carried signs in front of the Trump International Hotel. Earlier Wednesday, protesters at American University burned U.S. flags on campus.
• In Oregon, dozens of people blocked traffic in downtown Portland, burned American flags and forced a delay for trains on two light-rail lines. Earlier the protest in downtown drew several Trump supporters, who taunted the demonstrators with signs. At one point, a lone Trump supporter was chased across Pioneer Courthouse Square and hit in the back with a skateboard before others intervened.
Protests also were reported at a number of universities in California and Connecticut, while several hundred people marched in San Francisco and others gathered outside City Hall in Los Angeles.
Contributing: Associated Press