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Politics

Activists take to the streets to protest Donald Trump ahead of electoral college vote

Anti-Trump demonstration
Hundreds of activists marched through the streets of downtown Los Angeles on Sunday to protest against President-elect Donald Trump.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

A coalition of activist groups on Sunday took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles to protest against some of the labor and immigration policies proposed by President-elect Donald Trump, a day before he is expected to officially claim victory in the nation’s presidential contest.

On Monday, 538 presidential electors from across the country will convene in their respective states to cast their votes and finalize the results of the Nov. 8 election. Trump, who only needs 270 electoral votes, is expected to collect 306 votes as pledged by members of the electoral college.

Electors are chosen by the voters from party slates and are expected to support the party nominee. Although constitutional scholars agree that electors are free under the U.S. Constitution to cast their votes as they please, 29 states and the District of Columbia have statutes that seek to bind electors, sometimes with threats of fines or criminal penalties.

But many Hillary Clinton supporters point out that she won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes and are urging electors to block Trump’s path to the White House. While that is unlikely, they said they want to send a message of defiance over some of Trump’s proposed policies, including a crackdown on illegal immigration.

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Hundreds of activists from groups and unions that fight for the rights of Muslims, Jews, immigrants in the country illegally and the LGBT community marched through the streets of downtown Sunday, which is recognized by the United Nations as International Migrants Day. Many carried signs that said, “Stop Trump,” “I’m not a Criminal, I pay Taxes,” and “Fearless, United.”

“Today is about protecting our communities, especially our immigrant community,” said David Huerta, the president of SEIU United Service Workers West, a union that represents janitors, security officers and other service workers.

The fear is real for Stephanie Temix, a 21-year-old immigrant from Mexico in the U.S. illegally, who is studying sociology at Cal State Northridge. She worries her family could be targeted for deportation if Trump follows through on his campaign promises calling for tougher immigration policies.

“We need to show that we are people and our rights matter,” she said. “We are fighting for our future and rights.”

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Joe Salas, a board member of the Islamic Center of Claremont, said he wanted people outside of California to know the state’s activists were ready to mobilize. 

“We will stand up against discrimination,” he said. “We will go anywhere and help anyone being discriminated against.”

The march paused outside Grand Central Market, where Father Greg Boyle stood on the back of a truck and promised the immigrants in the crowd, “we will make sure that you are safe.”

California state Senate leader Kevin de León, who has been a vocal critic of Trump, vowed to protect the rights of immigrants and said California would be a “beacon of hope for the rest of America.”

A group calling itself the Hamilton Electors will hold a candlelight vigil at City Hall at 6 p.m. to encourage members of the electoral college to vote their conscience when they cast their votes for president on Monday.

Updates on California politics »

javier.panzar@latimes.com

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Twitter: jpanzar

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