They lost. So why are so many still out there protesting against Donald Trump?

A long, nasty election means many aren't ready to let go.

A long, nasty election campaign and the outcry at the result mean many aren't ready to let go

Thousands of Los Angeles students walked out of school Monday to protest Donald Trump's election. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

At first, it doesn't look like much: just a couple of dozen students from one east Los Angeles high school camping out on the doorstep of city hall. They'd hoped other students might join their walkout, but it's 10:30 a.m. Monday, and so far they're alone.

"A lot of my classmates been coming to me crying, saying that they're scared because they are undocumented," says 17-year-old student Destiny Pineda. "They're scared that their parents are going to be deported."

Her own parents — legal immigrants from Mexico, she says — are counting on her to speak for them.

"They know that they can't do it, and they don't have such a strong voice, because they're scared," Pineda says.

Many of the students are of Latino heritage, and some fear either they or their parents may get deported. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

By noon, some of the students are ready to go home. But then one student points to a news chopper circling overhead. The reason it's there soon becomes obvious. You can hear them before you see them: first hundreds, then thousands of students from more than a dozen schools, chanting.

"Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are wanted here!"

Many adults soon joined the protest, like 80-year-old Fred Rivoli. 'I just know that God did not create an illegal human being.' (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

Many have walked across the city to be here. And soon, inspired by the students and the news coverage of their protest, adults start joining them.

Jaime Espinoza, a 24-year-old civic employee, has family members who are undocumented and could be deported if president-elect Donald Trump follows through on his election promise.

But with the election over, what's the point? 

The U.S. presidential election is just over a week old, and already Los Angeles alone has seen dozens of protests. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

"We had this election season go on for two years," Espinoza says. "It was very tense, and I think it's good for people to just release what they feel about how the election turned out.

Everybody's just still in a daze about what happened, but when the reality really sets in … it could be another civil war.- Street poet Henry Foote

"It's good to show Donald Trump and the Republicans that we will try to stand up for what we really believe in. It's really good to make a point before any actual policies are implemented by the new administration."

An hour later, a group of indigenous dancers shows up. A young woman with a beret and skull-painted bandana plays the drums, a teen blows into a conch shell, and around them twirl a dozen dancers.

Jaime Espinoza says the election was so long and acrimonious that the losing side needs to vent, and he warns the incoming administration it's ready to mobilize. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

Trump's presidency, they say, is a tragedy. But 23-year-old artist Andi Xoch believes some good could come out of this. She's sitting apart from the group wearing a bandana covering her mouth, holding a sign that says "Deport Donald Trump."

She says sharing a common enemy could unite different groups and create even more powerful alliances.

Artist Andi Xoch says the election is like a funeral: a tragic event that can bring people together. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

"It's just like in a funeral: you only see your family when a tragedy happens sometimes, and it brings you together despite the horrible circumstances," Xoch says. "So I think we might be seeing that with this nation, so I'm hopeful."

Thousands gather in cities for fourth day of anti-Trump protests

Less hopeful is African-American street poet Henry Foote. He brought some poems and a djembe drum to the protest, hoping to get across his message: don't be fooled by the conciliatory noises coming from the president-elect. Racists will soon get the keys to the White House, he says, and it won't take them long to make their presence felt.

"So now that we had our black president, it's time for them to get even again," Foote says. "Racism is popping its ugly head."

Henry Foote says the protests won't peter out; he believes the closer the U.S. gets to the presidential inauguration, the closer it gets to a possible civil war. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

Since the election, he's already been to a couple of anti-Trump protests. Everything's been peaceful, he says. For now.

The closer to Trump taking office, "the angrier people are going to be — so no, it's not going to peter out," Foote says. "Everybody's just still in a daze about what happened, but when the reality really sets in … it could be another civil war."

Sound familiar? That's what some predicted if Trump lost.

Pineda and the other protesters say they don't know how it will end. But this they promise: if Trump builds his wall along the Mexican border, they will tear it down.


Kim Brunhuber

Los Angeles correspondent

Kim Brunhuber is a CBC News Senior Reporter based in Los Angeles. He has travelled the world from Sierra Leone to Afghanistan as a videojournalist, shooting and editing pieces for TV, radio and online. Originally from Montreal, he speaks French and Spanish, and is also a published novelist.


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