I woke at midday on November 9, 2016 feeling completely jet-lagged. The day before, I'd worked a 22 hour shift. On top of that, the world was seemingly upside down. A shell shocked population woke with me to a new America. As I laid in bed, I scrolled through news sites reading story after story with the same narrative. Nobody saw this coming.
While I tried to fathom what the next four years could bring, there was already a revolt on social media. A protest in New York City was slated for that night to begin at Union Square and then march to Trump Tower, home of the now President-elect, Donald Trump. Scores of New Yorkers were refusing to accept the results and wanted to march the streets and let the world know that Donald Trump wasn't their President. I got the call to cover the protest and as my body screamed now, I said yes and took the gig. I had to see it.
I'm never totally sure how a protest will go. Sometimes I expect huge numbers and there are few, sometimes I expect a peaceful gathering and suddenly there's an outburst and cops start dragging people away in cuffs. I didn't want to miss what could happen.
It was already nighttime as I arrived at Union Square. Rain fell from dense clouds that seemed to consume all city light and block out any sign of the moon. Regardless, the attendance was impressive. As the march took off along rain slicked Manhattan streets, crowds stretched the length of city blocks. By the time it reached Trump Tower, it consumed 5th Avenue from 53rd street to 58th. Barricades and lines of trucks blocked the entrance to the Trump Tower, as did lines of police officers. The crowd surged forward and I was ready to run with them, figuring it could only be a matter of time before they stormed the entrance. But it didn't happen. Instead the crowd split and half marched to the Trump Hotel on Columbus Circle.
They blocked the street around it and jeered as hotel guests entered. The chant of "Not My President" played on repeat. After numerous warnings for a dispersal, police arrested a number of demonstrators as they sat locked arms, refused to leave the intersection outside the hotel. It took the wind out of the crowd. Confining the remaining protesters to sidewalks, the police contained the protest swiftly. I knew it was done at this point, but that this would be the first of many protests during the presidency of Donald Trump.