A group of American University students burned U.S. flags on the D.C. campus Wednesday afternoon to protest Donald Trump’s election as president, some shouting “F— white America!”
Several hundred students gathered in front of a campus center that holds the dining hall and classrooms, while protesters used matches and lighters to set several American flags ablaze. One student screamed: “This is a representation of America! We are going down in flames!”
Some students challenged the protesters, telling them that their words and actions amounted to hate speech. One person tried to grab a burning flag to try to put out the flames, and people were shouting at one another. At one point, some students began chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” and protesters — holding yellow signs that said, “Black Lives Matter,” “Stand up to racism!” and “Stand against anti-Muslim bigotry” — responded with mocking profanity, according to a student watching the protest and counterprotest.
It was one of many campus protests nationwide Wednesday as college students lashed out after Trump’s victory was assured; students on campuses with predominantly liberal politics said they were shocked and saddened by results.
In video filmed at the protest, some people can be heard shouting that they have a right to political expression. (And others can be heard shouting, “Shut up!”)
In a year when freedom of speech, race and a polarizing election have been hotly debated, the scene still upset many at American University and far beyond its campus.