About one hundred people gathered at the Matthew Shepard Memorial Triangle in West Hollywood tonight to protest President Donald Trump and recent actions by him and his administration.
The demonstration was organized by Robert Gamboa and Duke Mason, members of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board. Speakers included Mayor Lauren Meister and council members John Duran and Lindsey Horvath. The rally ended with a march along Santa Monica Boulevard to West Hollywood Park.
On the opposite, northeast corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica boulevards, a group of about a dozen Donald Trump supporters gathered, displaying signs and chanting their support.
Mason said he and Gamboa organized the protest to make sure West Hollywood had a voice in the debate over the Trump administration’s action to roll back various progressive measures, including repealing the Affordable Care Act. He also said that he and Gamboa wanted to express concern about Trump’s nomination of a Supreme Court justice who has taken positions against LGBT rights and similar administration officials And, he said, “We may be LGBT, but we’re also Americans, and an attack on any of us is an attack on all of us.”
Meister called out Trump for his behavior as well as his position on issues. “My expectation was that the person who willingly takes on the role of President of the United States of America would be an adult,” she said. “Would understand that his words, his actions, his tweets have consequences.”
“I expected that the person who willingly takes on the role of President of the United States of America would be a person who believes that all people are equal under the law. Who believes that all people deserve an opportunity for a good education. Who believes that all people deserve equal pay for equal work. Who believes that all people have a right to affordable healthcare. Who believes that all people have a right to marry the person they love.
“My expectation was that the person who willingly takes on the role of President of the United States of America would have compassion for those less fortunate. Would take care of our veterans, and not recklessly put our armed forces – those who put their lives on the line for us everyday — who fight for our freedoms — in harms way. “
Horvath cited West Hollywood’s reputation as a city that welcomes people of different sexual orientations and races and religions. She punctuated her remarks by calling out “Dump Trump,” which was repeated and cheered by the crowd.
“Our message as a city is clear,” Horvath said. “We are not going back. We are not going into back alleys or into the closet. We are not going to conversion therapy or DSM 4 listings. We are not going back to watching our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones dying in the streets because if HIV and AIDS. We are not going back to separate, which has never ever been equal. We’re not building walls to divide us. We are linking arms to unite us. No one is equal unless everyone is equal.”
Duran cited Samuel Adams, one of the country’s founding fathers and an author of the Declaration of Independence, in his speech: “If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Duran, a Latino, called for people to stand up for the rights of immigrants. And he said that if Trump supporters tried to block womens’ access to abortion clinics, his opponents should escort them through the blockades.
“The battle line has been drawn, just like on Crescent Heights,” Duran said, alluding to a dozen pro-Trump demonstrations on the northeast corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica. “I want to thank those people across the street because we’re gong to give you a good fight for the next four years.”
Those at the rally carried a variety of signs, some handmade calling out Trump for his ban on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations, and others describing him as a Fascist.
On the northeast corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica, pro-Trump demonstrators engaged in heated discussions with anti-Trump people, one of whom was arrested.
“There was some crazy lunatic who came from across the street. She spat on a woman and than on another person,” said Jake Lee, an organizer of the pro-Trump rally. Sgt. Connie Delgado of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station confirmed that a woman, aged 50, had been arrested and charged with battery after spitting on a Trump supporter, who himself put her under citizen’s arrest.
Lee said Trump supporters have acted peacefully. “I have done many rallies all over L.A. We have our opinions, but we’re not smashing windows and punching people in the face and spraying mace on the face.”