As millions of people across the country gathered around television sets and computer screens to watch Donald Trump assume the nation’s highest office Friday, a little more than a dozen protesters stood listening to Trump’s remarks by cell phone under a gray, drizzling sky in Wayne State University’s Gullen Mall.
They were killing time as they waited to start what was to be a noon demonstration. The hope was that more people would show.
“I think all movements start small,” said Caroline Wong with By Any Means Necessary, the group behind the protest. “I think a lot of people are still shell-shocked and are not believing that this is really happening.”
Passersby took notice of the weak turnout, with some opting to antagonize the group.
“You know Trump is the president and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said a young man who approached the group to take a Snapchat video. He scurried off upon reaching his 10-second limit.
Another young fellow took a more condescending tone: “Oh wow, you guys got ten people, good job.”
But neither the trolls, nor the cold, could deter Wong and her fellow demonstrators.
“I feel determined and angry,” said Wong. “I feel like there is no way that I am going to let this country go down the tubes with Donald Trump as president. I’m going to do everything in my power to make his rule unviable.”
By Any Means Necessary believes it has come up with a way to do that, but the plan is ambitious. Having identified Muslim and Latino immigrants as Trump’s likely first targets, BAMN says it will compel city and state governments to refuse to cooperate with the federal agency that carries out deportations. The group also says it wants to grow strong enough to shut down immigration detention centers.
“We cannot abide by the weakness of liberal politicians who propose to 'challenge, but not obstruct’” Trump’s agenda, read a leaflet the demonstrators passed out to WSU students. But none of those students felt compelled to immediately join the cause.
Wong wasn't worried about that.
“We can’t wait for people be ready,” said Wong. “We have to start now, we have to lead. Get the people prepared to act now on their feet and that’s going to bring out the people who [are less] prepared to act.”
The small group then formally kicked off its first demonstration with Donald Trump as the nation’s 45th president and set off on a march around campus, holding signs and chanting “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Donald Trump has got to go!”