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Activism

New Yorkers Plan to Let Trump Know He's Not Welcome in His Home City

Angry protests await the president for his first trip to the Big Apple as commander-in-chief.

Photo Credit: Ilana Novick

When Barack Obama returned to his Chicago neighborhood for the first time since becoming president in 2009, he was greeted with cheers. One resident told ABC 7 Chicago that "It's the most awesomest thing in the whole wide world." One woman interviewed happily took the logistical inconveniences in stride: "we've been waylaid as to which streets we can walk down. And I don't even consider that an inconvenience. I think it's an honor actually." Donald Trump won't be so lucky. When the president makes his first visit to New York City on May 4th, he will be greeted with angry protests. 

"Donald Trump will returning to his hometown as the least popular president in recent history after 100 days, leading an administration that has shown itself to be bigoted, greedy and ineffective," the Working Families Party said in a recent statement. The WFP, along with multiple activist groups, is planning actions in and around Trump Tower and the Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier docked in the Hudson River that will host a dinner and reception with the prime minister of Australia to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, in which the United States and Australia fought together against Japan. 

While Trump's event is planned to start around 6:30pm, protesters will begin gathering as early as 2pm. Some activists will be wearing white, a reference to past movements such as immigrant rights, civil rights, and suffragettes. Others will bring pots and pans to join in a cacerolazo—a form of protest popular in Latin American countries where a group of people make noise by banging pots, pans, and utensils, to make enough noise that the party goers can hear them inside. 

The New York Immigration Coalition will be leading another branch of protests in the evening, this time around Trump Tower. As Executive Director Steven Choi said in a statement, "In his first 100 days, Donald Trump threw everything but the kitchen sink at America's immigrants... Although this has been a harrowing time for the immigrant community, one thing remains clear: this is still our New York, and we will fight to ensure that it remains a place for all of us.” Speakers will include Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour, along with local activists and elected officials. The events beginning earlier in the day are planning to march south to join this one, and will do so even after it was announced that Trump won't be spending the night in his gilded tower, but instead at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. 

Donald Trump claimed in an interview with Fox News last week that he hasn't been back to his hometown because “Going back is very expensive for the country,” and “I hate to see the New Yorkers with streets closed.” Wrolf Courtney, an organizer from Rise and Resist, a self-described "direct action group made up of both new and experienced activists committed to opposing, disrupting, and defeating any government act that threatens democracy, equality, and our civil liberties," and one of the groups organizing the protests had a different view.

"Why hasn't he been back?" Courtney told AlterNet in an email interview. "Because he knows he is unwelcome here. Immigrants: yes, Trump: NO!" Rise and Resist, along with the other activist groups, will demonstrate, as he put it, "what real New York values look like." 

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

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