Hundreds of students march against Trump and the Houston GOP debate
Houston, TX – Hundreds of University of Houston students protested at the Republican candidates debate, which was held on campus Feb. 25. The university allowed the racist Republicans to use their facilities to hold the debate and professors were asked to cancel their classes, yet University of Houston students were not allowed to attend. There was a highly militarized police presence on campus; the police built an expansive fence around the Moore’s Opera House and any direct path to it so that protesters and students alike would not be able to access the debate. There were snipers on the surrounding buildings, and the university was swarming with Secret Service agents.
Students for a Democratic Society organized the large protest against the debate. Spending two weeks building up for it, SDS brought out over 100 students to reject the Republican agenda of racism, hatred and fear. They began in front of the library, chanting “Dump Trump, dump Trump!” “Trump, Trump shame on you, immigrants have rights too” and “Trump, Trump you can’t hide, we can see your racist side.” They had signs that read, “Students against GOP imperialism” and “Trump’s racism not welcome here.”
After few speeches, the students marched to the Moore’s Opera House, where the debate was being held. As they marched, more students joined and there was a climate of enthusiasm, empowerment and collective rage. Once they arrived at the Opera House, they were greeted by a swarm of cops blockading the entrance. The police told the protesters to leave, and one of the students got on the megaphone and asked the crowd, “Do these cops represent your interests?” to which the students answered, “No!” They chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, racist police have got to go!” and the speakers pointed out that the police only represent the rich and have no interest in the needs of working people and students.
Once everyone assembled in front of the Opera House, an SDS member arrived with an intricate piñata of Donald Trump. Students aired their grievances against Trump and the Republican Party and then took a swing at the piñata until it was totally destroyed. After protesting outside of the debate for an hour, the students marched back to the library, where they rallied more support. The crowd multiplied and grew twice as large.
A large group of community activists had gathered across the street from the university near the Opera House. The now massive group of students marched across campus to this gathering and took to the streets. The police became very aggressive, making threats to arrest people and even putting their hands on one of the African American students. The students started chanting, “Off of the sidewalk, into the streets!” and everyone got into the street despite the massive police presence. When the cops started making threats, they chanted, “Whose streets, our streets!” and refused to follow their orders. They finally made it to the community protest, which ended with fiery speeches, radical songs and dancing.
Alex Hayes, chairman of SDS at the University of Houston, said, “This was an extremely successful action that reached out to the mass of students and took their radical spirit, putting it into action against the racist Republican party. This protest showed us the students want to get involved and will do anything they can to stop racism and bigotry from invading their school. We encourage all students everywhere to look for an SDS chapter near them or create one if there isn’t a chapter in order to start a radical student movement.”