Anger and disappointment mingle as thousands of anti-Trump protesters take to U.S. streets

Vigils and protests flared up across the country Wednesday evening as opponents of President- expressed dismay with the election results, underscoring the difficult task he faces in uniting a fractured country.

Despite Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama urging their backers to accept Trump’s victory and support his transition into power, demonstrators marched through the streets of New York, Chicago, , Austin and other cities, decrying his crude comments about women and attacks on immigrants.

“I’m disappointed, shocked, a little panicked for my friends and – for everything that will be unleashed, the hate that will be unleashed,” said Marion Hill, 22, who joined thousands who amassed outside of in downtown Chicago.

Rainbow flags and signs bearing messages such as “Time to Revolt” waved above the crowd, as filled Michigan , cheered on by drivers who honked their support.

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In New York, hundreds of demonstrators spilled across Union Square and then marched to the Trump Tower in midtown , chanting, “Donald Trump, go away! Sexist, racist, anti-gay!” When they arrived at the building, which had been blocked off with police barricades, protesters shouted up at the real estate developer inside: “We’re all immigrants!”

And as the sun set in Washington, a crowd of hundreds of mostly young protesters gathered outside the White House for a candlelight vigil before marching to the new Trump International Hotel a few blocks away on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“I’m trying to not be angry and trying to find more positive way to express my reactions. I don’t think anger will help,” said Kate Lasso, 57, who joined the crowd. But for the wife of a Guatemalan immigrant, who has relatives in the country without proper documentation, restraining emotion was difficult.

“They have kids,” she said. “They have been living here. What is going to happen to them?”

Paul Beaty/AFP/Getty
Paul Beaty/AFP/GettyPeople take part in a President-elect Donald Trump near the Trump Tower in Chicago, Illinois on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

Many who turned out said they were fearful that Trump would follow through with his pledge to deport undocumented immigrants.

“I just felt waking up today that I was waking up to a whole new world, to a nightmare for my parents and people I care about and love,” said Tony, a 23-year-old line cook who declined to give his last name as he marched in Chicago, carrying his 6-year-old daughter on his shoulders.

“There’s so much heartache,” he said. “It’s a bad time to be a Muslim or an illegal citizen in this country.”

Hours earlier, Trump struck magnanimous note of reconciliation as he claimed victory shortly before 3 a.m.

“Now it’s time for to bind the wounds of division,” he said. “We have to get together. To all Republicans, Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”

Trump’s tone was echoed by Obama and Clinton, who told their supporters not to despair as Republicans rejoiced at the idea that they will control both the legislative and executive branches of government in two and-a-half months.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesThousands of anti-Donald Trump protesters shut down 5th Avenue in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016

“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it, too,” Clinton said. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time.”

Clinton, who was misty-eyed at times but composed throughout her remarks, said the long and bitter campaign against Trump showed that “our nation is more deeply divided that we thought.”

But she told her backers: “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

Minutes later, Obama addressed reporters in the Rose Garden with Vice President Joe Biden by his side, as more than a hundred White House staffers stood off to the side. Several of the aides were visibly emotional, with at least one crying before he began speaking.

“Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage,” Obama said, vowing to work to ensure a smooth transition for the president-elect.

But the displays of anger and grief on the streets Wednesday indicated the depth of the rupture in the country – and the distrust with which many view Trump.

“He’s going to lead us to a very dark place for women,” said Samantha Sylverne, a 19-year-old student, who marched in Chicago carrying a sign scrawled on a cardboard box that read, “Amerikkka elected a rapist.”

Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images
Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty ImagesPeople protest against President-elect Donald Trump in Manhattan on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016

“Along with how it affects our reproductive rights, the things Donald Trump spews about women shape how Americans think they can talk about women and other marginalized people,” she said.

In New York, where protesters walked in the streets, disrupting traffic, Brandon Ramos, 21, said the election result “feels like a nightmare.”

“I’m Latino,” he said. “My entire family and neighborhood are depressed. I still haven’t comprehended it.”

Tensions flared particularly high on college campuses. At American University in Washington, students burned American flags and some shouted “F- white America!”

In Austin, students at the University of Texas led a march for hours through the city Wednesday afternoon. As hundreds of protesters wove into traffic, bus drivers high-fived the students. Some in their vehicles got out and hugged them, tears streaming down their faces.

“Seeing this is everything,” said Jennifer Rowsey, 47, as the march passed by a coffee shop next to Austin City Hall where she is the human resource manager. “I felt so isolated,” she said. “I don’t feel so alone now.”

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
AP Photo/Julie JacobsonAnti-Donald Trump protesters in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016

Austin City Council member Greg Casar, the son of Mexican immigrants and a community organizer, joined up with the protesters when they passed by an interview he was giving with local media.

“A lot of people are calling for healing,” he said. “I think we should reject that.”

He said that now is the time to support protesters, strikers and other forms of civil disobedience. Casar said if Trump comes to Austin, he will refuse to shake his hand. “If I have to go to jail,” for protesting, he said, “I’ll go to jail.”

The evening march in Washington converged in front of the Trump hotel, where one demonstrator pasted a sign of Trump’s face marked with the word “Hate” on the side of the building.

A few protesters attempted to rush through a crowd barrier in front of the hotel’s side entrance before security officials quickly intervened and pushed them back. Other protesters jeered against the escalation, drowning out the momentary disruption with chants of “When they go low, we go high.”

Some in the crowd distributed fliers with plans for another protest – on Inauguration Day.

Bailey Walker, a 20-year-old George Mason University student, found herself grappling with how she could have been so confident of a Clinton victory.

“I created an echo chamber within my social media and friend groups, and I wasn’t listening,” said Walker, who said she knew only a few Trump supporters from the college public speaker circuit.

“I need to do a better job of connecting with them and engaging,” she said. “Meeting in person would be a big step.”

Karen Ducey/Getty Images
Karen Ducey/Getty ImagesThousands of protesters rally against Donald Trump on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.

About Matea Gold, Kari Lyderson and Fenit Nirappi, Washington Post