Protesters March Through San Ysidro with 100-Foot Banner Demanding Trump, Pence Leave
By Manuel Ocaño
A coalition of Los Angeles organizations marched through parts of San Ysidro with a banner measuring at least 100 feet demanding that President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence leave office.
Michelle Chai, from Refuse Fascism, said that the protest was in response to the use of tear gas by Border Patrol officers on women and young children on Nov. 25.
Chai said that her group believes that “that action is a sample of the fascism that has come to characterize” President Trump’s Administration.
While gathering at the corner of San Ysidro Boulevard and Rail Court, the group indicated that the immigrant caravan “is a mere two miles from here, has had to come all the way to the border seeking political asylum due to U.S. government policies that have supported military coupes” in Central America.
The protesters then unfurled the giant bilingual banner at the trolley station. Once unfurled, it caught the attention of passers-by and San Diego Transit Police officers, who focused on keeping protesters and onlookers from crossing the Trolley’s yellow safety line.
Refuse Fascism members were joined by other activists who said they were part of a communist organization. Both groups ignored the offer by a police officer to talk about their march through San Ysidro.
Some San Diego county activists later joined the group.
At least 30 people marched with the banner from the end of East San Ysidro Boulevard, in front of the Trolley terminal and by the entrance to the PedEast crossing, over the bridge towards the outlet mall, then down the road to PedWest, stopping a few feet from the border fence.
The English version of the banner said “Trump/Pence must go”, but the Spanish version’s statement “Trump/Pence tienen que largarse” said so in harsher words.
Although protesters invited others to join, who were curiously taking pictures and filming with their cellphones, no one else joined the march.
Graciela García, a woman who happened to be crossing at the time through PedEast said “I hope this protest will not lead to them closing down San Ysidro [Port of Entry] again”.
Some business owners also wondered with some concern whether protesters were planning to approach the Port of Entry facility or to cross southbound into Tijuana.
According to their press release, the original plan was to hang the banner at the end of San Ysidro Boulevard across from the Trolley station; however, once they received confirmation that Transit Police could block that action, the group decided to march with it instead.
The march concluded without incident, other than sporadic counter-protests by passers-by expressing their displeasure with the action.
John Friend, an independent San Diego journalist, said he disagreed with what the protesters were saying, as – in his opinion – it went against American values. He also complained that he tried to talk to some of the protesters, but was ignored.