This morning, the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Vancouver (1161 West Georgia Street) took place amid protest from over 100 angry Vancouverites.
Throughout the day, protesters have come and gone, and from what we've been told by organizers, the so-called Trump Welcome Party is planned to continue until 10 p.m. this evening.
Most who attended the demonstration were there to protest the use of the Trump name in Vancouver, as well as the harmful rhetoric of U.S. President Donald Trump, while his sons, Eric and Donald Jr., attended a press conference inside the hotel, where not a single question was taken from the press. (The brothers will not be staying in the hotel during their stay in Vancouver.)
Protesters were graced by the presence of a few Trump supporters. Some attended wearing "Make America Great Again" hats and "Hillary for Prison" t-shirts, while others chose not to display their support, and instead make their position known by yelling at demonstrators.
The Straight spoke with a few protesters about why they decided to attend.
Steven Pham, who brought colourful post-it notes and pens with him, said he wanted to give people a chance to create messages to adhere to the exterior of the building.
"I started this because I wanted to do something where people who didn't bring a sign could make a statement and put it on the wall. His family's not the problem, he's the problem. He wants everyone to follow his rules, but I'm not okay with that," Pham said.
Andrew Latimer expressed his concerns about the travel ban:
"I feel strongly about what's going on in America right now, and I feel strongly about how Trump has affected people," said Latimer. "I know people who have been affected by his travel bans--Canadian citizens who were born in Iran and now can't go to the States, so it's important to stand against that."
Flynn Dixon-Murdock told the Straight that protests can serve as a way to connect with a greater purpose.
"Policy aside, I think it's very often that you feel disconnected from your roots and what makes you human, and so I come out to protest just in general, to get in touch with the idea of finding respect and equality for all," he said.
Ann Hughes traveled from Princeton, B.C. on an overnight Greyhound bus to attend the demonstration, and said she opted to take the trip because she "needed to do something to take action."
"Creating these signs is like art therapy, and coming to this demonstration is like heart therapy. Because I have fibromyalgia, the people here at Occupy were kind enough to provide me with a folding chair so I could stay longer," she said.
Another woman, Alanna Johnston, said she still struggled with the idea that Trump has control over the country: "I don't support anything about this name, this brand, this family. They're against rights for women, rights to speak, rights to choose, rights to so many things. It's hard to understand and wrap my head around the fact that he is running a country, because he is clearly not qualified, and he clearly doesn't care about anybody but himself. That's why I'm here."