DOWNTOWN — Weekly rush-hour protests could be the new normal Downtown.
Resist Trump Tuesdays will step off at 3:30 p.m. every Tuesday at Jackson and Dearborn streets through April 18, or roughly the 100th day of Donald Trump's administration, activists say. They said their inaugural march, which decried Trump's cabinet appointments, drew 300 protesters Tuesday evening.
The activists hope to capitalize on the anti-Trump momentum generated by the inauguration protests last weekend, one of which featured 250,000 women blanketing Downtown. But people who live and work Downtown may have to start factoring weekly street protests into their afternoon commutes.
"The Trump Administration has us all running around in a panic trying to put out 100 fires," said Tobita Chow of The Peoples' Lobby, a group behind the protests. "We need to start setting some metaphorical fires of our own to create some tension and some crises that forces people in the Trump Administration to react to us."
Each Resist Trump Tuesday will focus on a theme, Chow said, with topics including Trump's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, temporarily ban refugees from certain Muslim countries, and deport undocumented immigrants from so-called "sanctuary cities" including Chicago.
Fair Economy Illinois, the coalition of progressive groups behind the frequent "Moral Monday" protests throughout the state in recent years, is also leading Resist Trump Tuesdays.
Chow said Trump's "unprecedented" agenda calls for an unprecedented number of protests in response. When asked if he's worried constant protests will annoy or desensitize Chicagoans — most of whom didn't vote for Trump last fall — Chow said that protests work to bring about social change.
In addition to street protests, the activists have also drafted legislation they're lobbying to top lawmakers including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)
"It’s not enough to march," Kristi Sanford, a spokeswoman for Fair Economy Illinois, said. "Marching is our entry point to have conversations with people about what we want Illinois to look like."
Chow said the activists chose Jackson and Dearborn for their protest starting point because the intersection is close to offices of the federal government and anything else in the Loop. Tuesday's march went to the Chicago office of Goldman Sachs, a prominent bank with six former bankers Trump has tapped for top cabinet positions.
But like previous protests here, protesters beget more protesters. An unaffiliated group of activists outraged at Trump's plans to resuscitate the controversial Keystone and Dakota Access oil pipelines blocked traffic on Wacker Drive during Tuesday's rush hour.
As long as Trump is president, people who live and work Downtown can expect more of the same, Chow said.
"Trump is not going to stop giving people reasons to want to get out onto the street and take the fight to the people that are contributing to his rise to power," he said.
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