Several hundred demonstrators lined Durango’s Main Avenue on Sunday to protest the election of Donald Trump as president.
“We shouldn’t be silent,” said Lisa Zwisler. “Everyone needs to speak out, especially now.”
The impassioned crowd bottlenecked Main Avenue between 12th and 17th streets, voicing anger, frustration and a call for unity after one of the most contentious elections in recent memory.
Though the protests, which began at Fassbinder Park, remained peaceful and mostly confined to the sidewalk, multiple trucks donning Confederate flags doused the crowd in sooty diesel exhaust – an act known as “rolling coal.”
Durango Police, stationed alongside the protest route, chased a number of the trucks down, several of which had made several passes spewing black smoke on the crowd.
Durango Police Sgt. William Sweetwood said police issued warnings to the drivers, but no tickets were issued.
“We just let them know it’s OK for them to protest and express their opinion, but they can’t do it in that kind of manner,” Sweetwood said.
Regardless, the spirit of the anti-Trump protest remained defiant and upbeat, reinvigorated each time drivers came down Main and honked their car horns; sometimes occupants would hoist anti-Trump posters out a window.
Marissa Anderson, a protest organizer, said Trump’s repeated attacks on minorities and women have pushed the country toward a more divisive place, and she’s concerned what four more years will do.
“Women and minorities are scared,” she said. “He has set the tone for the climate of our country, and it’s not good.”
Mary Rieke voiced a deep dissatisfaction with the Electoral College process, pointing to the fact Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by approximately 631,000 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
“More than half of voters voted for justice and kindness,” she said. “We must be heard.”
Diane Giersch, too, listed the litany of concerns she has with President-elect Trump, one of which was Trump’s selection of Myron Ebell – a known climate change skeptic with financial ties to the fossil fuel industry – to lead the Environmental Protection Agency transition team.
“I’m afraid of the damage he will do,” Giersch said. “It’s a delicate time for the state of global warming.”
After nearly two hours of marching up and down Main Avenue and leading chants that included “love trumps hate” and “not my president,” the crowd dispersed as night fell.
Sweetwood said there were no arrests, injuries or complications as a result of the protests.
“There’s just so much hatefulness, and I think we’re really loosing it as a nation,” said Jane Chapman. “Hate grows, it’s like a cancer. This whole thing has been like a nightmare to me, and the only thing I know to do is protest.”