Protesters take anti-Trump message to the streets of SLO

Protest in SLO: "Donald Trump. Go away. Racist. Sexist. Anti-gay!"

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Hundreds of protesters took over downtown San Luis Obispo on Saturday afternoon to voice their opposition to President-elect Donald Trump assuming office.

The group gathered around 3 p.m. outside the County Government Center on Monterey Street and marched laps around downtown, chanting and waving signs. Popular chants included “Not my president,” “Love trumps hate” and “Build bridges, not walls.”

Saturday’s protest appeared larger than another anti-Trump march held in downtown San Luis Obispo on Thursday. Police officers and sheriff’s deputies helped direct traffic, allowing marchers to take over several roadways for a time.

Some passers-by and drivers waiting for the protesters to pass showed their support by cheering or honking car horns. Others shouted pro-Trump messages and told protesters they could leave the country if they don’t approve of the president-elect.

Geri and Lee Bedell of Avila Beach marched with anti-Trump signs bearing “3-D” images of the president-elect, complete with straw-colored landscaping grass for his hair.

“I feel like (Trump) was a con artist,” Geri said. “And he fooled a lot of people.”

Some Trump supporters even joined in the protest, much to some marchers’ dismay. A group of about five people held Trump campaign signs and waved an American flag, marching near the other protesters.

Eli Bledsaw showed up to the march wearing a shirt emblazoned with a big picture of Trump. He said he wanted to show others that he’s open to dialogue, even though many people didn’t approve of his presence.

“We want to show people that it’s completely our right to do exactly the opposite,” Bledsaw said.

Jane Pomeroy of San Luis Obispo carried a sign with a drawing of a cat that said “You can’t grab this.”

Some protesters even brought their children. Anna Urie of Santa Maria marched with her two daughters, Lilia, 10, and Eva, 6. The sisters held signs reading “Girls are important” and “Truth and not lying is good.”

“I wanted them to understand that when one group is in trouble, we’re all in trouble,” Urie said. “It’s important to understand that women should have a voice in this country.”

Other protesters said they came to march for vulnerable groups who felt threatened by a Trump presidency.

Jane Pomeroy of San Luis Obispo carried a sign with a drawing of a cat that said “You can’t grab this.” Pomeroy said she works at a rape crisis center and is concerned about protecting the Violence Against Women Act and worried by the violence Trump’s election has already incited.

“It’s scary,” she said.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27