NEW YORK — Thousands of protesters gathered Wednesday night in New York City, marching through the streets to demonstrate against the election of Donald Trump.
The protest, which began Wednesday afternoon when hundreds gathered at Columbus Circle, culminated in a massive march through the streets to Trump Tower, where the crowd swelled to somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 people, according to the NYPD. Police officers on the scene told BuzzFeed News there were no arrests at the Fifth Avenue building.
"Donald Trump go away; racist, sexist, anti-gay," the protesters shouted at Columbus Circle, across the street from Trump International Hotel & Tower. "Pussy grabs back," some yelled. "Donald Trump is full of shit, he can't be the president."
Latchmi Gopal, who helped organize the event, said the protest was planned before the results of the election came in.
"[The protest] is not to get one woman elected, or against one man," Gopal told BuzzFeed News. "It's about a system that's oppressed communities — communities of color, immigrants, and women."
Gopal said the protest was aimed at elevating the voices of those who have been silenced and creating a space of love but also accountability.
"We have so much work to do," Gopal said, referring to the rights of minorities. "Now we just have so much more work to do."
At a protest that began in Union Square, protesters had a variety of chants, including "United we stand, fuck the system at hand" and "Fuck the elephant, fuck the ass, build a party of the working class!"
A New York group called Socialist Alternative organized the Union Square protest. Rob Jenkins, who led protesters in chants, said Trump's presidency will be "a disaster" and that he was protesting "the betrayal of the Democratic Party." Jenkins said he voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
"The Democratic Party sabotaged the primary against Bernie Sanders, a legitimate populist challenger who could have fought right-wing populism with left-wing populism," Jenkins said. He believes that President-elect Trump has "nothing to offer the working class."
Alexis Serrano, protesting outside of Trump Tower with his boyfriend Danny Garcia, said, "I feel unsafe. As an immigrant, my path to citizenship might be affected, and I might not be able to get married. My rights are being demolished." Garcia said he is "living in fear already."
Others felt the results of the election had made them feel disconnected from their country.
Jacqueline Z, standing in front of Trump Tower, said, "I've never been a part of a protest before, but I wanted to be more aware after the election. I feel like I've been living in a bubble. I wanted to be exposed to the hatred that people are actually feeling."
Many protesters told BuzzFeed News they believe the impact of the 2016 election will be felt for hundreds of years to come.
Eleen Liu, a student at Fordham University, said she was shocked with the results of the presidential election.
Being the daughter of immigrants from China, Liu said she feels terrified and heartbroken over what Trump's policies could mean for other immigrants.
"This is not what America is," Liu said, adding that she feels hopeful and comforted that others turned up to "grieve" at the protest.
Acacia Nunes, a Bard student, also said she was devastated and came to the protest to feel connected to others mourning the results.
"As a woman of color, I don't feel safe with Trump as my president," Nunes said. "I'm not his priority, and fear, which is palpable, can't be understated."
The phrase "not my president" was chanted several times throughout the protest and many demonstrators held up signs with the words on them.
"He doesn't represent what we need as communities," Gopal said. "Therefore, in this moment, no, you're not my president.
Mya Gelber, who came to the protest with Nunes, said the result of the election is a wake-up call for America on how women are valued and treated.
"We were unable to elect a woman in 2016," Gelber said. "This was supposed to be [Clinton's] big night of breaking the glass ceiling. So many other countries have had women leaders. This shouldn't still be an issue [in the Untied States]."
The most common words protesters used when reacting to the election were "disbelief," "heartbroken," and "devastated."
Georgina Simon told BuzzFeed News she thinks this election is different from how Republicans must have felt after the 2008 and 2012 elections, because she said Trump's platform was based on hate.
"My biggest concern is that people will be deported for their religion or ethnicity," Simon said. "That's not making America great again."
Friends Katie and Mara — who refused to provide their last names — brought their children with them to Wednesday's rally.
"We've talked to our kids about the importance of this election, of voting for the first female president," Mara said.
The women said they both talked to their kids about how troubling Trump's behavior was during the campaign — including the bullying and the sexist comments he made — and they said they told their 7-year-olds that adults should never behave that way.
"There was no sugarcoating it to them this morning," Katie said. "[My daughter] understood that this was a win for hate and that's not something that's acceptable."
The women said they brought their children to the protest because they felt it was important to see that a lot of people in their community are feeling the same things.
"We also want them to know that it's OK to speak up," Katie said. "Just because he's president doesn't mean we have to accept the hatred."