Thousands of Portlanders Jam Downtown Streets with Signs and Puppets to Protest President Donald Trump

Police quickly block marchers from taking over any bridges.

A crowd of 5,000 people has poured out of Pioneer Courthouse Square and into the streets of downtown Portland tonight, protesting the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

"No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.!" the crowds chanted as they spilled into the streets. "Hey hey, ho ho, these racist cops have got to go."

The marchers, who took to the streets shortly after 5 pm, have blocked downtown traffic and TriMet busses.

Within half an hour, they were confronted by Portland police officers blocking the west end of the Morrison Bridge. Police are refusing to let demonstrators take the bridge—a sharp contrast to last November, when protesters took over bridges and freeways for hours.

Mayor Ted Wheeler has pledged to keep interstate freeways and public-transit lines open tonight, saying the Portland Police Bureau can use non-lethal force to keep traffic moving.

In the moments before the protesters left the square, organizer Gregory McKelvey directly addressed complaints about blocking roads.

"You think it's inconvenient to be stuck in traffic?" McKelvey asked. "It's really inconvenient to be homeless in Portland when it's 32 degrees and snowing."

The crowd in Pioneer Courthouse Square grew rapidly this evening. Only a few dozen people watched a flag-burning at 3 pm, but by rush hour the protesters numbered as many as 5,000.

People carried signs—"Impeach!" "Not mein Fuhrer!"—and hoisted huge puppets, including a gargantuan skull and a pink "Trump Monster" with tiny hands.

Kathy Norton, 66, drove from Idaho for the protest. She says she hadn't protested since college. "I like to see people stand up for what they believe," she added.

The vast majority of demonstrators who talked to this reporter said tonight's march was the first protest they'd ever attended.

"I think Trump is a very scary person," said Shawn McCloud, 54, attending his first march. "He continues to escalate his rhetoric."

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