Rain and cold weather didn’t stop demonstrators from attending Toronto’s largest protest against Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president on Saturday.
About 1,000 people disappointed with America’s election results marched from City Hall to Trump International Hotel and Tower on Bay Street to show solidarity with anti-Trump supporters in the U.S. and around the world.
Across the street, a much smaller number of Torontonians for Trump responded with their own rally.
A volunteer marshal for the Rally Against Trump, 20-year-old student Wren Leone, said that only a few of the two dozen pro-Trump supporters had approached the anti-Trump rally. Those who did, came out with video cameras, and encounters between the two groups had to be defused.
Pro-Trump ralliers tried to find ways to make people feel dumb, said Leone.
Her job was to make sure protestors could spot aggravators, so that the events remained peaceful.
Torontonians for Trump told the Observer they respect anti-Trump protestors’ right to demonstrate but they do not believe Toronto should be protesting the outcome of the U.S. election as it was “not our election.”
“[Trump] hasn’t yet done anything in his role as president, so there is nothing to legitimately protest against,” they said.
Anti-Trump demonstrator Aine Belton, an Ireland-native recently issued permanent status as a Canadian, says Canada has set an example for welcoming people and is afraid Trump’s election is a backward step in progress.
“I believe he’s more about segregating than uniting people,” said the anti-Trump demonstrator. “Minorities and majorities should unite, not separate.”
Megan Schiek, who came with Belton, says pro-Trump supporters are missing the point of the anti-Trump protest.
“We’re not here to ask the American people to impeach (Donald Trump) from power,” said Schiek. “I see our responsibility here as showing dissent for the historical record and reminding minorities, who are scared to live in the U.S. under such a president, that there are other folks in the world saying, ‘you matter’.”
Graham Jordan, 23, was the lead chanter for the anti-Trump rally, leading a crowd holding signs saying “Dump Trump” and “Love Trumps Hate” from City Hall to Trump’s doorstep on Bay Street.
People on both sides are angry and in anger, people are reaching for alternatives, said Jordan. Attendance at the rally was to show that such alternatives should be about caring and loving others and not hate, he said.