Article and Photos by Alejandro Alvarez
Videos by Ford Fischer

As doors opened at the new Trump hotel in the heart of the nation’s capital, hundreds gathered to demonstrate both for and against the GOP candidate.

With only 13 days until the conclusion of the nation’s most divisive election in recent memory, cries of “rich and rude” and “we want justice” filled Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the White House, joined by a relatively smaller counter protest by Trump supporters.

Watch News2Share’s full livestream from the event here.

DC SWAT personnel and Secret Service formed a perimeter at the mouth of the driveway leading to the hotel’s Presidential Ballroom. Protesters weren’t dissuaded, donning signs and costumes in parody of the controversial candidate – one man dressed as a pig mask-clad banker endorsing Trump, and another marched around inside a papier-mâché caricature of Trump wrapped in dollar bills.

2016-10-26-trump-hotel-opening-129

While some expressed anger against Trump’s comments on women, muslims and racial minorities throughout his campaign, UNITE HERE, a union representing hotel and restaurant workers in the United States and Canada, organized a picket line to protest the Trump Organization’s handling of unionized workers at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas.

According to UNITE HERE, Trump “has refused to recognize and bargain with the union despite its duty under federal law to do so,” after hotel workers voted to unionize in December 2015.

Pro-Trump Counter-protest

The initial majority pro-Trump protest was soon met by dozens of Trump supporters bearing hats, shirts, and signs in the name of their candidate. While most were area residents or passer-byers come to voice their support, including families with children, a few were blunt in expressing their enthusiasm for Trump despite criticism from the left about intolerance.

“Hillary Clinton is a chameleon when it comes to politics – she’s a deceiver,” a retired pastor and Trump voter told News2Share, wearing a sweatshirt reading “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Morals are Worse Than Animals.”

Another appeared to criticize the hotel’s valet service for having African-Americans on staff, noting to News2Share’s Ford Fischer she feared they were “Muslim” and “Haitian.”

“They’re black and they’re fucking Muslim.”

When a protester informed her that Haitians are predominantly Catholic, the Trump supporter asserted, “They’re black and they’re fucking Muslim.”

Trump did not make an appearance at the protest himself. His two sons made their exit near the protest, with Donald Trump, Jr. smiling at Trump supporters along the fence as he departed.