In the weeks leading up to election day, critics of President-elect Donald Trump widely condemned his assertion that the election was rigged. They repeatedly called on him to accept the results of the election regardless of the outcome. But now that the outcome is not what they expected, students on college campuses across the country are protesting Trump’s victory.
Protests erupted at college campuses in California on election night. Smaller protests popped up on other campuses as students learned the election results. Protestors took to the streets burning flags and Trump effigies as well as smashing windows and painting graffiti.
The Washington Post reported that a large protest spontaneously erupted at American University in Washington, DC Wednesday. Protestors blamed “white America” for Trump’s victory. Hundreds gathered and set American flags ablaze. Check it out:
Flag burning at American University. Wow. pic.twitter.com/V0NZsfNMyz
— Meh (@madelineele) November 9, 2016
“Some students challenged the protesters, telling them that their words and actions amounted to hate speech.” As these students chanted “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” protestors “responded with mocking profanity.”
The Post interviewed one bystander, a Clinton supporter and student at American University.
“I was definitely uncomfortable, just – more in shock than anything, that a fellow student at my university would be willing to burn our nation’s flags and be happy about it and say this is a revolution, this is going to change everything.” The student soon left amid concerns about being at the protest.
Student leaders responded with mixed reactions. Although the American University College Republicans did later post Clinton’s own words calling for healing and acceptance. Devontae Torriente, student government president, posted to Facebook.
“Just as those who voted for the winner were excited about the outcome, for those who viewed it as unfavorable, anger, sadness, grief and frustration were brought to the fore,” Torriente wrote.
The University responded with a statement: “About 200 students convened this afternoon in a protest to express their reactions to the presidential election outcome. The university supported the free expression of views on all sides of the political spectrum. The expressions were at times heated, but peaceful and safe. The university does not condone the burning of the American flag, even though the act is protected speech.”