About 250 protesters marched in New London, on Wednesday as President Donald Trump delivered a commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy. Most were showing their opposition to Trump, who’s been increasingly under fire.
Protester Beck Jordan-Young, who has nieces, nephews and brothers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, says she worries Trump’s decisions have put them at risk. Among other things, Trump faces accusations he disclosed classified information to Russian officials.
“To invite him to speak at the graduation of Coast Guard Academy is a particular kind of slap. His actions over the past few weeks have shown he has zero understanding of our national security.”
Protesters chanted, “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” They marched from downtown New London to a park just outside the Coast Guard Academy, where they were met by about 50 Trump supporters. The two groups clashed, verbally and loudly.
Seth Vitco, with the group AntiCom, which he described as a right-wing reactionary group, says he respects protestors’ right to free speech.
“So far things are just a shouting match, we hope it stays that way, but if things do escalate, we hope they don’t, we don’t intend to provoke anything, we do have armed men here. Open carry, legal, all that.”
Kim Abraham, who teaches yoga at the Coast Guard Academy, says she came because she was curious about the protests, but she’s not crazy about the shouting and arguing between the pro- and anti-Trump factions.
“This is the thing we’ve been trying to get beyond since the beginning of time. We need to sit down and talk to each other. I don’t think this is good problem solving behavior – this battle behavior, this fighting.”
An earlier version of this story stated that Beck Jordan-Young has relatives in the Coast Guard. Her relatives serve in the other four branches of the military, not in the Coast Guard.