Broward County

Hundreds march against Trump in Fort Lauderdale

Anti-Donald Trump protesters chant 'Not my president'

Hundred marched along Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, holding signs, chanting and blocking traffic.
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Hundred marched along Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, holding signs, chanting and blocking traffic.

For the third straight day, protesters took to the streets of South Florida to protest Donald Trump’s election.

On Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators met in Fort Lauderdale’s Huizenga Plaza at 6 p.m. and marched down Las Olas Boulevard to the beach and back.

Traffic was blocked along Las Olas in both directions as the protesters were escorted by police.

Patrons sitting at sidewalk cafes alongside watched as the group marched down the busy thoroughfare, which is lined by shops and restaurants and is normally packed with bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Dozens of police officers on bicycles, motorcycles and police cruisers led the group on the roughly 6-mile round-trip trek through the city.

As the group reached Southeast Ninth Avenue, the demonstrators chanted “We want the popular vote!” in the middle of the intersection.

Some people who just happened to be in the area joined the protest as it passed, and drivers would honk their horns in support.

As the protesters walked past shops, the occasional Donald Trump supporter would counter their chants with a pro-Trump response.

Stuart Guss, who was having a drink at a sidewalk restaurant, came out to give protesters high-fives.

Guss, who was visiting from Texas, said he was happy to see the protests and fully supported them.

“There’s no way I will accept Donald Trump as my president,” he said.

Protesters ranged in age from children in strollers to the elderly. They carried signs that said “Love trumps hate,” “Not turning back the clock 50 years” and “We are better than this.”

One man in a wheelchair carried a sign that said “I’m disabled. Don’t mock me!”

“I can’t believe we still need to protest this,” another sign read.

As the group crossed over the bridge on its way to the beach, protesters chanted “Build bridges, not walls!”

Hundreds of protesters changed "Build bridges, not walls!" as they crossed the bridge from Fort Lauderdale to the beach during an anti-Donald Trump demonstration on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016.

Patrick Rodgers, pastor of United Church of Christ Fort Lauderdale, said the purpose of the march is to make a statement that Americans will not accept hate and bigotry.

“There’s a real fear,” Rodgers, 60, said. “It’s tremendous and overwhelming.”

Rodgers, who is gay, worries that the legalization of same-sex marriage could be at risk.

“Taking away people’s rights. That’s not my president,” he said.

Trump supporter Vincent D’Allura, 51, from Fort Lauderdale, came out to watch the protest because he believes people are overreacting and that Donald Trump is a “liberal Manhattanite under it all.”

“I think people need to give him a chance. It’s going to be so much better,” D’Allura said.

Once the demonstration reached the beach, the group swelled as dozens of beachgoers joined in. The march then turned north onto A1A, which was closed to traffic.

“We fought too hard over the years to make this country better for everyone,” said Paul Ayala, 67, who lives in Fort Lauderdale. “Hate and bigotry is not acceptable,” he said in tears.

Sisters Lauryn Phifer, 11, and Renee Phifer, 13, from Weston, came to the protest with their mother and grandmother. The girls wore borrowed “Black Lives Matter” buckets around their necks and beat them like drums as they marched.

Their grandmother Carroll Billups called the protest a great civics lesson for her grandchildren.

“We want them to see that they have the right to assemble peacefully,” Billups said.

The route, which brought the marchers back west from the beach to Las Olas Riverfront, circled back to its starting place at Huizenga Plaza, where some demonstrators gave speeches.

There was at least one arrest at the rally, according to Miami Herald news partner CBS4, who captured video of the arrest.

Sunday’s event comes after several other South Florida protests. On Friday, a crowd of 300 to 400 people who gathered at Bayfront Park in Miami grew to what police estimated was several thousand who spilled into the streets and blocked major roads including Interstate 95. Then, on Saturday, another group gathered in Wynwood.

The organizer, a 24-year-old business professional who asked to remain anonymous, planned the rally on Facebook and said the “event was created by a single person from a single computer, and that’s the message we want to set forth.”

“One person can change the world; we are stronger as a collective, and that’s why we are coming together tonight,” he told the Miami Herald in a Facebook message on Sunday.

Anti-Trump protests have sprung up across the nation over the last four days in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Most of the demonstrations have been peaceful, but there have been at least two — one in Portland and one in Indianapolis — that have turned violent.

Carli Teproff: 305-376-3587, @CTeproff