Demonstrators gather to protest following Donald Trump’s election victory in New york, New York on Thursday. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Tens of thousands of Americans were planning further protests and acts of dissent against the election of Donald Trump on Thursday, after a wave of demonstrations across the US in which dozens were arrested.
Protesters were preparing to gather in major cities for a third night after crowds descended on Trump buildings in New York, Chicago and Washington into the early hours of Thursday to rail against the shock victory of the property tycoon following his bilious campaign.
“I’m incredibly upset. I’m angry,” Parker Smith, who held a sign stating “My Body, My Choice,” said outside Trump’s Chicago hotel tower. “This has been just a lot to deal with and I’m very worried for the next four years.”
Trump has promised to appoint judges to the US supreme court who would overturn Roe vs Wade, the landmark 1973 decision protecting the right to abortions.
US flags and effigies of the Republican president-elect were burned at protests in Portland, Oregon, while a series of small fires were set off on the streets of Oakland in California, where a few people smashed windows and threw rocks at police. Officers in riot gear used teargas to disperse a protest of 6,000 people.
Chants including “Not my president” also rang out on the streets of Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Seattle. Police scrambled to defend Trump’s skyscrapers and clear streets that protesters had shut down. At least 127 people were arrested.
“I’m distraught at the decision,” said a protester named Nina, who declined to share her surname for professional reasons. “He’s a horrible, horrible man, not the leader of the America I live in. Or the America I thought I lived in.”
Protest organisers and activists across the country were debating their next moves amid some calls for more direct action.
“It’s time to begin training our young people in nonviolent civil disobedience again,” said Benjamin Jealous, the former head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “Turning anger into power takes discipline and focus.”
A private Facebook group planning a protest march on Washington for the day of Trump’s inauguration on 20 January had gathered 30,000 members by Thursday afternoon, with thousands joining every hour. Hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition on Change.org pleading with the state electors who formally select the president to ignore the public vote and deliver the office to Hillary Clinton.
Brittany Robinson (right) and her friends protest in San Francisco. Photograph: Sam Levin for the Guardian
Riot shields were given to secret service agents who guard the White House, where Trump arrived for his first meeting with Barack Obama on Thursday.
The protests were dismissed as irrelevant by Trump’s advisers. Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is being touted as a likely attorney general in Trump’s administration, called demonstrators “a bunch of spoiled crybabies”.
“Give me a year and I think you are going to find you are living in a much better country than you are living in right now,” Giuliani said on Fox News.
The protests erupted after Clinton lost the electoral college and presidential race on Tuesday night despite winning the popular vote.
As American voters and international leaders began to come to terms with a Republican White House led by the former reality television star, people opposed to Trump criticised the racism, sexism and xenophobia that the president-elect has made mainstream.
Demonstrators protest on Wednesday in Chicago, Illinois. Photograph: John Gress/Getty Images
As night fell in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, people took over Sixth Avenue and marched by Trump Tower, carrying signs that read “She got more votes” and “Hands off my pussy,” a reference to a leaked recording where Trump bragged that he could sexually assault women because of his fame. About 65 arrests, most for alleged disorderly conduct or resisting police were made among crowds that were estimated to total about 10,000.
At least 30 people were arrested in Oakland, 14 in Los Angeles, 12 in Richmond, Virginia, five in Chicago and one in Washington.
In New York, protesters who had marched all the way from Union Square – some 35 blocks downtown – continued past Trump Tower, with a crowd congregating in front of the president-elect’s building.
“Fuck your tower! Fuck your wall!” people chanted at Trump Tower’s brassy facade, as scores of NYPD officers manned barricades, behind which stood eight department of sanitation trucks filled with dirt.
Nina, an actor living in Manhattan, told the Guardian that the protest felt less like a call-to-arms than a vigil for the promise of America.
Local and state police watch as people march past the state house in protest of Trump in Boston on Wednesday. Photograph: Mary Schwalm/Reuters
Thousands also took to the streets in Chicago, a Democratic city that overwhelmingly supported Clinton according to initial polls.
Gathering for what activists called an “emergency Trump protest”, demonstrators virtually shut down the city during rush hour traffic as they shouted: “Trump is not my president.”
While Chicago has gained international attention for these kinds of demonstrations in recent years – tied to the Black Lives Matter movement against police violence – Wednesday’s protests drew a diverse group of voters united in their anger at Trump.
Protesters stood their ground for hours outside the luxury building, chanting about issues including black lives, LGBT rights and women’s health.
“This is the America I identify with,” said protester Nicole Endenova, a young woman of colour, as she stared at the crowds.
Some protesters waved a Mexican flag outside the tower while screaming “Fuck your wall”, referring to Trump’s controversial plan for a border barrier.
As helicopters followed the march from above, while police shielded Trump Tower, some protesters shouted, “We want a president, not a fucking racist!”
Several larger demonstrations throughout the day were led by high school and college students, including a mass walkout at a high school in Berkeley, California.
People outside the White House protest against Trump in Washington on Wednesday. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA
Protests were first launched early on Wednesday morning on the west coast after Trump told his supporters in New York City that Clinton had called him to concede.
“People are fucking bummed. People are disgusted,” said Eddie Gutierrez, 33, who joined late-night protests in Oakland, California. “They’ve lost faith in the fucking system.”
Protests also occurred in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Oregon and other states in regions throughout the US.
By evening on the west coast large rallies began to emerge in Seattle and Oakland, organized under the hashtag #NotMyPresident.
In Seattle, city councilwoman Kshama Sawant, a socialist politician and avid Bernie Sanders supporter during the presidential primaries, told a crowd of activists on Wednesday night that people should plan to disrupt Trump’s inauguration in January.
“We are going to shut it down,” she said.