As Oakland joins cities across the country in protest, the nation asks itself:
For over 24 hours, from Nov. 8 to Nov. 9, the Bay Area burned with rage over the election of Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States.
As Hillary Clinton’s defeat became clear late on Nov. 8, hundreds of UC Berkeley students and Berkeley residents marched down Telegraph Avenue, filling the streets with chants of “Not my president” and “Fuck Donald Trump.”
But only moments after the group marched onto the Highway 24 on-ramp, a sickening sound signaled the first serious injury of the next 24 hours: a student protester was hit by a car, with multiple witnesses saying the car sped up before impact.
Protesters blocked the car from trying to flee the scene, and switched their goal to diverting traffic for the expected ambulance.
The victim was reported as having sustained “major injuries” as of the morning of Nov. 9.
While many students fell back in devastation, several Latinx students urged the group to press on. Together with over a hundred Berkeley residents, the protesters continued down Telegraph Ave. before reaching a police blockade at 8th St around 2 AM.
Sometime thereafter, the protesters dispersed — but not without plans for the coming morning.
As dawn broke on Nov. 9, the nation continued to reel from the unexpected turn of events the night before.
Defying the predictions of nearly every pundit and pollster, Clinton’s supposed “blue wall” of electoral votes crumbled and Trump captured the key states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to win the election.
Trump also won the battleground states of Florida and North Carolina. His victory came despite an unprecedented surge of Hispanic voting for Clinton, which won her New Mexico and the battleground state of Nevada.
It also made the result in normally Republican Arizona too close to call even 24 hours after voting had ended. The vote was also extremely close in the normally Democratic state of Michigan and in New Hampshire.
Although Trump’s electoral college triumph was clear, final counts of the popular vote had Clinton defeating Trump by a full percentage point.
Ultimately, Clinton won 48 percent of the popular vote, and Trump 47 percent.
Thus, as in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral college vote and the presidency to George W. Bush, a kink in the democratic election system determined who won the election.
Prior to 2000, it had been more than 100 years since a candidate who lost the popular vote won the presidency.
Without missing a beat, Berkeley residents — largely students — leapt to channel their confusion, shock, and outrage into mass action.
Nov. 9 was kicked off by a walkout by Berkeley High School students that terminated at UC Berkeley, where a university protest set for noon filled large sections of the campus with frustrated and angry residents.
Less than five hours later, the apex of that anger hit the streets of Oakland.
By 5:15 PM, over a thousand people crowded Oakland City Hall as speakers from organizations like Socialist International and the Anti-Police Terror Project vocalized what the crowd was feeling.
A series of chants, then drums, echoed through Oscar Grant Plaza, as the Imusai drumming group arrived around 6 P.M. to join a crowd that had by then tripled in size.
The next two hours saw everything from peaceful solidarity to fiery chaos. First, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) met protesters with blockades across downtown Oakland, in hopes of keeping the protest condined to Oscar Grant Plaza.
But the blockades grew and shifted as the sky darkened. OPD was dealing with a much larger protester presence than they’d expected.
It was hardly 8 P.M. before they released their first tear gas canisters, pushing protesters back: some in tears, some with head injuries, and others arrested where they stood.
Then, around 9:30 P.M., in one of the evening’s most dramatic scenes, protesters and police traded fireworks and flashbangs at the corner of Telegraph and William. A fire set in the middle of the intersection continued to burn even after protesters were forced to disperse.
Their rage continued to burn, too.
An OPD officer and a female protester bump into each other as the protests of Nov. 9 grew more tense.
By the end of the night, over 7,000 Bay Area residents had taken over Oakland’s streets. Together, they showed Trump and his followers that, whatever the future held, they — and residents of cities across the country — were prepared to fight.
Protests are scheduled to continue today, Nov. 10 and through the month.
Additional reporting contributed by Fred Feller and Leilani Matthews.