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Post-Inaugural Demonstrations Held in Kent, Cleveland Over the Weekend

photo of Kent Interfaith Alliance
Krishna Fitch (in Indian sari) and Frank Hairston (in cap) urged people to communicate their concerns to elected officials -- and to pray for them -- during the Kent Interfaith Alliance demonstration on Saturday.

The Kent Interfaith Alliance held a post-inaugural rally on Saturday, one of hundreds of similar events taking place throughout the country and around the world.

About 100 people were at the Portage County courthouse in Kent for the rally, which organizers said was a call to work with -- and pray for -- elected officials. Krishna Fitch from Cuyahoga Falls was there encouraging people to listen to the content of what elected officials say.

“Somehow or another, they’re claiming to be people of God – Christians or whatever – but they’re not really representing the message of Christ in any way, shape of form.”

Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala was one of the few elected officials at the rally, but organizers say many others were contacted, including Congressman Tim Ryan and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. Both of them sent statements of support, since they were in Washington, D.C., over the weekend. Portage County Commissioners and Sheriff David Doak also sent statements. President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence were sent invitations last month, but did not respond.

Frank Hairston from Ravenna – a self-proclaimed “staunch Democrat” – made it clear that the event was not an anti-Trump rally.

“When president Obama came in, Republicans made it very clear he was a one-term President. And they made it clear they weren’t going to work with him. I’m taking it the other way: instead of closing doors and not working with people, these are elected officials [and] we need to work with them and hope that we can compromise. Compromise has gone away from what we really need to be doing.”

Rally in Cleveland
In downtown Cleveland, about 15,000 people held a rally on Public Square.

Speakers included Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who boycotted the inauguration in Washington, D.C. She and others addressed the crowd on topics ranging from reproductive rights to the environment.

Ida Ross-Freeman from Canton told WKYC-TV that it reminded her of protests in the past.

“It seems like we’re having a repeat of the things we fought for in the '60s and '70s. And it’s so important that us older women -- and young women -- come together and show our solidarity in women’s issues and rights."

Although the event was being billed as a “women’s march,” many men attended in solidarity. Bob Green was on Public Square on Saturday and spoke to WKYC-TV.

“I'm here to support my daughters, my wife and all women and people who are not white."

About one million people are estimated to have attended post-inaugural protests and demonstrations throughout the country over the weekend.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.