CHICAGO — The raw divisions exposed by the presidential race were on full display across America on Wednesday as protesters flooded city streets to condemn Donald Trump’s surprise election. Police said most of the demonstrations were peaceful, but some grew violent.
From New England to heartland cities like Kansas City and along the West Coast, many thousands of demonstrators carried flags and anti-Trump signs, disrupting traffic and declaring that they refused to accept Trump’s triumph.
Flames lit up the night sky in California cities Wednesday as thousands of protesters burned a giant papier-mache Trump head in Los Angeles and started fires in Oakland intersections.
Los Angeles demonstrators also beat a Trump piñata and sprayed the Los Angeles Times building and news vans with anti-Trump profanity. One protester outside L.A. City Hall read a sign that simply said “this is very bad.”
Late in the evening, several hundred people blocked one of the city’s busiest freeways, U.S. 101 between downtown and Hollywood.
Los Angeles police moved in with riot gear and, with help from the California Highway Patrol, tried to form a perimeter as the situation grew more unruly. At around 11 p.m., officers started taking people into custody, says CBS Los Angeles.
Police seemed to have the situation under control until the crowd ignited and dispersed onto the freeway again.
By 1:30 a.m., the freeway was clear of demonstrators but lanes remained closed for cleanup.
Fourteen arrests were reported.
Earlier in the day, several students from downtown L.A. high schools marched to City Hall to protest the election, CBS L.A. reported. Protesters on City Hall steps burned a giant papier mache Trump head in protest. Later, in the streets, they whacked a Trump piñata.
In Oakland, several thousand chanting, sign-waving people gathered in Frank Ogawa Palaza, police said, clogging intersections and freeway on-ramps. Protesters lit garbage fires on Broadway, and there were reports that demonstrators burned Trump in effigy and smashed windows of the Oakland Tribune newsroom.
Oakland police told CBS San Francisco there were some 6,000 demonstrators in the streets Wednesday evening. Officers lined up in front of a Chase Bank branch to prevent further vandalism after windows there were smashed. Trash fires were set nearby, and an American flag was burned, the station said.
Tear gas was deployed, roads closed and 30 arrests made Wednesday night when a protest was declared an unlawful assembly by Oakland police after bottles, rocks, firecrackers, M-80s and Molotov cocktails were thrown at officers in riot gear, the station reports. Three officers were injured, police said.
Broken windows and spray paint were reported at numerous locations throughout the downtown area and Chinatown, CBS San Francisco says.
As of 9:33 p.m., police could be heard telling protesters to disperse from the loudspeaker of a helicopter.
In San Francisco, as many as 1,000 protesters marched along Market Avenue, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, to join a vigil in the Castro District, a predominantly gay neighborhood.
Arrests were made at a protest in San Diego, KFMB-TV, the CBS affiliate there reported.
In Chicago, where thousands had recently poured into the streets to celebrate the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series victory in over a century, several thousand people marched through the Loop. They gathered outside Trump Tower, chanting “Not my president!” and later shut down Lake Shore Drive during a march around downtown, CBS Chicago reported.
Chicago resident Michael Burke said he believes the president-elect will “divide the country and stir up hatred.” He added there was a constitutional duty not to accept that outcome.
Police reported five arrests, including two for obstructing traffic, but said there were no major incidents.
A similar protest in Manhattan drew some 10,000 people.
CBS New York reports a small group of dozens of protesters grew in numbers that unofficially amounted to between 7,000 and 10,000 – and the group was still growing by 9 p.m. The protesters took over Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower.
Outside the building, police installed barricades to keep the demonstrators at bay.
Several groups of protesters caused massive gridlock as police mobilized to contain them under a light rain.
They held signs that read “Trump Makes America Hate” and chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go” and “Impeach Trump.” The group also chanted, “Not my president!” as well as “Black lives matter” and “Love Trumps hate.”
“Black lives matter” and “NYC against Trump” were also projected across from Trump Tower.
Some protesters even climbed lamp posts.
“It’s an affront to democracy that he was elected, because he’s a racist, homophobic, xenophobic nightmare — misogynist nightmare,” KC Trommer, of Jackson Heights, Queens, remarked to CBS New York.
“It’s important today more than ever to resist the white supremacist, imperialist, capitalist state,” another demonstrator said.
Author, filmmaker and activist Michael Moore – who predicted a Trump victory months ago – was among those at the protest.
“We have a messed up, archaic system that makes him the president,” Moore told CBS New York.
Police reported some 65 arrests.
Hundreds of protesters gathered near Philadelphia’s City Hall despite chilly, wet weather. Participants, including supporters of both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost to Clinton in the primary, expressed anger at both Republicans and Democrats over the election’s outcome. The event was organized by the Philadelphia Socialist Alternative, CBS Philadelphia reported.
In Boston, thousands of anti-Trump protesters streamed through downtown, chanting “Trump’s a racist” and carrying signs that said “Impeach Trump” and “Abolish Electoral College.” Clinton appears to be on pace to win the popular vote, despite losing the electoral count that decides the presidential race.
The protesters gathered on Boston Common before marching toward the Massachusetts Statehouse, with beefed-up security including extra police officers. Many of the marchers were from Boston-area colleges and told CBS Boston they were shocked and disillusioned by Clinton’s loss.
A protest that began at the Minnesota State Capitol with about 100 people swelled as it moved into downtown St. Paul, CBS Minnesota reported. Protesters blocked downtown streets and traveled west on University Avenue, where they shouted expletives about Trump in English and Spanish.
There were other Midwest protest marches in Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri.
In Des Moines, Iowa, hundreds of students walked out of area high schools at 10:30 a.m. to protest Trump’s victory, the Des Moines Register reported. The protests, which were coordinated on social media, lasted 15 to 45 minutes.
Marchers protesting Trump’s election chanted and carried signs in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Media outlets broadcast video Wednesday night showing a peaceful crowd in front of the new downtown hotel. Many chanted “No racist USA, no Trump, no KKK.”
Another group stood outside the White House. They held candles, listened to speeches and sang songs.
Students burned American flags at a protest at American University in D.C., said CBS affiliate WUSA-TV.
Dallas activists gathered by the dozens outside the city’s sports arena, the American Airlines Center.
In Austin, University of Texas students marched through downtown and blocked the 1st Street Bridge, CBS affiliate KEYE-TV reported.
Hundreds massed in downtown Seattle streets.
Many held anti-Trump and Black Lives Matter signs and chanted slogans, including “Misogyny has to go,” and “The people united, will never be defeated.”
Five people were shot and injured in an area near the protest, but police said the shootings and the demonstration were unrelated.
In Oregon, people blocked traffic in downtown Portland, burned American flags and forced a delay of trains on two light-rail lines. Portland Police told CBS affiliate KOIN-TV approximately 2,000 people marched as the protest continued into the evening.
Earlier, the protest in downtown drew several Trump supporters, who taunted the demonstrators with signs. A lone Trump supporter was chased across Pioneer Courthouse Square and hit in the back with a skateboard before others intervened.