On Saturday Jan 20, students from schools around Thurston county, the majority being from Evergreen State college, South Puget Sound Community College and Olympic High School, participated in a walk out and protest of Donald Trump’s presidency and the policies of his administration.
Joining the students were members of the community of all ages who also disagree with Trumps’ policies. The protest began at the stairs of the Capitol building where students gathered. Many students, and other civilians that joined in their protest, spoke at a podium set up in front of the steps. Speakers of all ages expressed their feelings surrounding the inauguration of Trump, the youngest being just twelve years old.
“People are very emotional and take this very personally,” said Nina Sullivan, one of the head coordinators of the cause and longtime activist in the Olympia area. Speaker Allissa Moralez, a student from SPSCC, participated through a passionate speech.
Between speeches the band, Love Conspiracy, played songs of unity and rebellion. “The energy here is spectacular” mentioned a band member who is also part of the SPSCC jazz band.
After all the speeches subsided, the crowd proceeded onto the march. Beginning within the capitol building and looping down to 4th street and back up by the water. There were about 200 protesters that made up the crowd, a much smaller group than the women’s march that came the following day.
There was a police presence throughout the march, barring protesters into a very strict route. Police cars were parked to block certain streets and cops on bikes followed close behind protesters. Though Sullivan warned the “police are not safe” there was no inappropriate behavior from the police force toward the marchers.
As the march continued it stayed mostly peaceful, although there were moments of agitation. At one point, a singular protester attacked a cameraman from one of the local news stations damaging his camera. Throughout the march the crowd stopped at intersections gathering and shouting chants such as “no trump, No KKK, No fascist USA”. Many people downtown stopped to watch the protesters. People came out of their shops and restaurants to watch as students passed.
There wasn’t much counter protest presence, contrary to expectations, since there were flyers around SPSCC campus asking for a “counter walk out”. At the capitol steps, there was one lone Trump supporter who claimed that speakers only shared words of “hate, hate, hate”. Many anti-Trump protesters had conversations with him about what they were standing for. During the march, there were about four people who stopped to yell at the protesters.
When the crowd returned to the capitol steps, there was a moment of great agitation between a filming Trump supporter and a group of students. The police had to escort the man with the film off the premises. Mike Burt, an employee at the capitol, explains “as you can see there is a lot of law enforcement in place” to combat any violent behavior. The plan is to keep these protests as peaceful as possible.