A spontaneous anti-Trump protest that began with about 50 University of Texas at Austin students grew into a crowd of more than 400 students and community members by Wednesday evening. Protesters walked south arm-in-arm down Congress Avenue, chanting “Walk with us” and “The people united, will never be divided.”
After gathering around noon at the campus’ main mall, the marchers blocked traffic on the South First Street and Congress bridges on their way to the Capitol. Passersby filmed, waved and honked in support, though not everyone was happy about the group, with occasional shouts of “go Trump!”
Skyler Frost, 18, a UT freshman communications major, said he felt millennials are unfairly characterized as politically apathetic.
“Our generation is constantly accused of being slacktivists, only saying something on Twitter or Facebook,” Frost said. “To get change, we have to write our congressmen, and go out and elect people who will effectively represent us.”
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo instructed officers to set up a loose perimeter to reroute traffic and keep the street free of vehicles.
“People’s right to express themselves takes priority over an inconvenience for traffic,” Acevedo said.
Austin City Council Member Greg Casar joined the protest. “Lots of people, including Donald Trump, are calling for healing and unity today,” Casar said in a statement he posted to Facebook earlier in the day. “I won’t call for healing. I’m calling for resistance. There is no healing today for the families who fear they will be arrested, deported and torn apart by Trump.”
Trinidad Gutierrez, 19, a freshman studying psychology at UT, said he was encouraged by fellow marchers.
“Everyone is here to stand, regardless of their race, sexuality, age, or gender,” Gutierrez said.
Protesters’ enthusiasm remained high for more than four and a half hours, despite the rain and gloomy weather. By 5 p.m., the protest had returned to the UT campus.