Resistance Reporting Finds Hundreds of Protests in May, Most of Them Staunchly Anti-Trump
Protests and rallies against the Trump administration and its policies have been a constant since January, as hundreds and sometimes thousands of people gathering to protest a bevy of issues.
New data from the Washington Post "tallied 495 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States" in May, with attendance numbering between 100,807 and 128,464. The number of protests and the number of participants in May show a marked decrease from April, when 950 protests drew roughly between 637,198 and 1,181,887 people. Data about demonstrations in the U.S. is collected by the Crowd Counting Consortium, with updates posted on the Washington Post every month.
A majority of the rallies and demonstrations, about 68 percent, were in opposition to Trump’s policies, with 54.5 percent boasting anti-Trump messages and 13.5 percent taking stances on “issues that contradict the president.” A large number of the protests centered around the House Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, including a protest outside a town hall meeting in Plattsburgh, New York, with Rep. Elise Stefanik. There were also a number of protests that, while not explicitly anti-Trump, defended an issue stance contrary to the president’s beliefs. Some of these events included support for workers, protests against police violence and a Take Back the Night march addressing sexual violence.
Only 5 percent of the recorded events supported Trump and his policies—a slight increase from only 2 percent of pro-Trump rallies in April. One of the rallies occurred during Trump’s commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.
Furthermore, 27 percent of demonstrators participated in marches and actions targeting other politicians or issues that were neither anti-Trump nor pro-Trump, showing an increase from April. Protesters rallied against the removal of statues of Confederate leaders, and demonstrators in Alamogordo, New Mexico, protested a deep borehole research project. The data also notes that protests over budgetary and personnel decisions in grade schools remained common.
At 465 recorded events in May, no arrests were made. However, the number of people arrested increased from 160 in April to 349 in May. The data shows that 259 of the May arrests stemmed from 19 cases of nonviolent civil disobedience. During a protest at a legislative committee in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 23 people were arrested. Only six events with arrests were a result of violence or the destruction of property.
A study from the University of Maryland revealed the demographics of the anti-Trump resistance. The data found that about one-third of participants at the Women’s March in January were new activists and had never participated in protest action before. Furthermore, these first-time protesters ended up repeatedly participating in rallies and demonstrations, as 45 percent of March for Science participants and 70 percent of People’s Climate March participants (both taking place in April) also had joined in the Women’s March.
The data also showcased racial diversity among protesters, with nearly a quarter of respondents being non-white. A majority of respondents were also Democrats and had voted for Hillary Clinton for president, although the resistance was also drawing in third-party voters.
While Crowd Counting Consortium’s numbers for June have not been released yet, this month has seen a number of protests, including Pride marches across the U.S. A majority of these rallies have focused on the Senate’s health care bill, and many marches have taken place to protest police brutality since Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of all charges in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile.