Some 200 peaceful protesters took to the streets in Des Moines on Thursday evening after gathering on the steps of the state capitol. This “Not My President” protest is one of many taking place nationwide since Tuesday's election.
The event began as a rally and progressed to a march. Demonstrators walked from the capitol building, through Des Moines’s East Village, to city hall before the parade circled back.
The crowd carried homemade signs and chanted phrases like "We reject the president-elect!" "Donald Trump! Go Away! Racist, sexist, anti-gay!" "Love trumps hate!" and "USA! USA! USA!" Occasionally protesters blocked traffic, but mostly people stayed to the sidewalks and moved out of street when directed by the Iowa State Patrol.
Activists were mostly in their twenties, and included many women, people of color, and those identifying as LGBTQ. Some told Iowa Public Radio they came to the event to feel supported and give support to others who are upset that Donald Trump will soon be president of the United States.
Organizer Leah Waller, a 20-year-old student at Des Moines Area Community College, said the event had next to no planning.
"We kind of put this together around midnight last night," said Waller, who wore a shirt covered with heads of former presidential candidate, VT Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Waller explained the phrase "Not my president" is metaphorical.
"Of course he literally will be our president, but I don't think he stands what we believe in," she said. "We're not going to let hate over come this country."
Several protesters said they felt shocked and scared about the future under a Trump presidency.
"I just feel like they’re trying to make it an all-white country again, and it’s not," said 19-year-old Maya Moreno of Des Moines. "Let’s not forget who the first illegals were. It was the white man. All the Mexicans and natives are from the Americans...all indigenous. Just because there's a wall doesn't mean this isn't our home."
Though many passionate, there were no clashes with law enforcement.
"I'm not nervous about it at all," said Sgt. Todd Olmstead. "They've been peaceful, and we're going to let them exercise their First Amendment rights, and make sure that they're safe. And anyone who has a different view has their First Amendment rights as well."
Many protestors vowed to remain politically involved, and to push back against policies set forth under the new administration.
Donald Trump will be sworn into office on January 20, 2017.