U.S. President-elect Donald Trump addresses supporters during his election night rally in New York. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump addresses supporters during his election night rally in New York. REUTERS/Mike Segar

At least 10,000 anti-Trump demonstrators are expected to turn out Friday for a Los Angeles City Hall protest as the new president takes the oath of office in Washington, D.C.

“We’re saying that we’re going to organize and use love to defend our communities,” said Ron Gochez of Union del Barrio. “That’s why we have the obligation to come out, everybody, this Friday at Staples Center — united to send a message that we are not afraid.”

Also on Friday during the inauguration, campuses in the Los Angeles school district will try to make the controversies surrounding Trump a teaching experience with “Unity Day 2017.” However, march organizers encouraged LAUSD students and others to skip school and participate in the protest.

Heavy rain is expected during the demonstration, and Gochez said the downpour may reduce the number in the protest. Police promised a heavy security presence during the march.

“We hope to get at least 10,000,” Gochez told City News Service. “Without the rain forecast, we might get 100,000. We want to have our voices heard.”

Gochez’s group will join with dozens of community organizations for the march through downtown Los Angeles to City Hall. Activists will denounce a number of expected Trump policies, but especially Trump’s proposed efforts to begin mass deportations of immigrants living in the country illegally.

Participants are expected to gather at 11 a.m. at Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street and march toward City Hall. Organizers called for residents to skip work and school and take part in the march.

The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of the protests and will have a beefed up presence downtown and elsewhere on Friday, according to authorities.

“We will be there to make sure the protesters are kept safe,” Officer Sal Ramirez of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section said.

The department will be on maximum deployment, he said, adding that officers who aren’t on vacation will likely be on duty on Inauguration Day.

While organizers of the march called on students to skip school on Friday, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that it has declared Friday “Unity Day 2017” at its campuses. According to the district, the day will be designed “to encourage students to participate in the civic-engagement process and to promote schools as safe and appropriate venues for meaningful dialogue about the presidential election.”

District officials said they have developed lesson plans and activities for the day. Activities will be geared primarily to high school students, but available for students in all grades. The activities could include “unity dances,” poster-making gatherings and “justice circles” to discuss the issues.

“We hope that students will take advantage of these lessons, discussions and other Unity Day activities that will allow them to participate in the civic-engagement process during the school day,” Superintendent Michelle King said. “We want students to feel part of their school, their community and their country.”

–City News Service 

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