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Demonstrators gather for solidarity march following Trump inauguration

While Donald Trump assumed the presidency Friday, some Ohio University students spent the afternoon protesting.

Students staged a walk-out from class at 12 p.m. when Trump was sworn in. About 50 students and Athens residents gathered at the Athens County Courthouse afterward, including Brittany Irwin, a freshman studying women, gender and sexuality studies. Irwin said she didn’t have any classes that morning, but she would’ve walked out if she did.

“I feel anger,” she said. “Rage. The usual.”

A cluster of students wearing Trump shirts and hats gathered around a Trump flag across the street. Jeremiah Griffith, an Ohio University freshman studying civil engineering, said he’d returned after demonstrators shouted at him earlier in the day.

“I got called a piece of trash and I said, ‘Thank you,’ ” he said.

The two groups taunted each other across the street with chants.

The group dwindled after a couple hours. Later that day, students and Athens residents returned to the courthouse for a “rally for solidarity.”

At 5:30 p.m., a rally of approximately 200 people banded together listened to speakers from different student organizations, including the Multicultural Activist Coalition, F--kRapeCulture and the Feminist Equality Movement, as well as local citizens who wanted to speak their mind.

At about 6:15 p.m., demonstrators poured into the middle of Court Street.

At least 15 police officers from the Athens Police Department and the Ohio University Police Department were stationed on Court Street before the march began. APD Chief Tom Pyle said the demonstrators had a parade permit and that police planned to be “flexible."

“(We’ll) just make sure they’re safe, that they’re not harassed, and that no property is destroyed,” he said.

Several members of the United Campus Ministry stood nearby, accepting donations in exchange for pink beanies, called “p***y hats."

“It’s a visible symbol that we’re against Trump and stand up for women’s equality,” Lavena Staten, an Ohio State University student and member of UCM, said.

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson watched the beginning of the demonstration from a bench near the city building.

“You know, this is a part of democracy,” he said. “I’m happy for them to be able to voice their opinions and feelings in a responsible manner.”

The group marched several blocks through Athens, chanting about racism, police brutality and social inequality. At one point the marchers chanted, “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here,” in a nod to a proposed Muslim refugee ban by Trump.

As the activists marched down the streets of Athens, they gained the attention of several students. Some stopped to take pictures, and others congregated outside of fraternity and sorority houses to watch. Some wore Trump hats.

Tyra Chavis, a freshman studying nursing, heard the demonstrators from her room and came outside to figure out what was going on. She was pleased with what she found.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “This is a peaceful protest. I definitely support it.”

After ending the demonstration with a solidarity clap, Lewis said the group would be going to Scripps 111 to watch the anti-inauguration, a live-stream of protests happening in Washington D.C.

“Do not go to class today,” she said. “Do not go to work today. This is not business as usual.”



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