RICHMOND, Va - One of the protesters who took to Richmond streets in opposition Donald Trump’s election win said most of the problems Wednesday night were caused by a few “bad apples.”
More than 100 protesters met in Monroe Park Wednesday night to march and chant “not my President" after news that Donald Trump won the presidential election.
Some of the protesters vandalized at least two Confederate statues on Monument Avenue, broke the front door at the Republican Party of Virginia by throwing a pumpkin at it, and blocked traffic on multiple interstates in the city.
A dozen people, all of whom were 18 to 26 years old, were arrested by Virginia State Police and Richmond Police when they locked arms and sat down on the Downtown Expressway, officials said.
Cam Warthan, a VCU graduate, said current and former VCU students organized the protest as a peaceful demonstration. Warthan, who said he marched with the group from 9 to 11 p.m., said others joined their demonstration with the intent to cause problems.
"Maybe their intentions were to cause a ruckus, to get a little rowdy," he said. And the group kind of splintered off, but I think we represented VCU very well the way that we demonstrated."
According to Warthan, the majority of people in the crowd Wednesday were there to voice their concern about the demeaning, racist, and offensive rhetoric used by President-Elect Trump during his campaign. He added that the fact Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but not the presidency, did not sit well with many Richmond protesters.
"We obviously accept that it's happening, but most people really think the electoral college system is very antiquated,” he said.
Clinton won more popular votes than Trump, but Trump received more electoral votes because of his success in Rust Belt states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, analysts said. The electoral college system has been in place for more than 230 years, CBS News reports. The intention is to distribute votes across geographical terrain, otherwise the fear is that votes would simply reflect the preferences of metroplitan voters.
Chesterfield resident Tom Myers, who voted for Trump, said democrats and republicans alike knew how the system worked before casting a ballot.
Myers said he fully respects the right of those who disagree with him to voice their opinions, but he hoped they can do so without breaking the law or damaging property.
"Even Obama met with Trump today," said Myers. "They're trying to work things out. I think everyone needs to come together."
"Trump's in there; let's give him one or two years to see what he can do," he added.
Warthan expects more protests in Richmond, but he hopes they take a different tone moving forward.
"I think [protesters] should really think about who you are representing, and try not to tarnish this city's reputation,” he said. "If you agree that Trump shouldn't be leader, then you should be a leader yourself.”
In a statement, the Democratic Party of Virginia said the damage done to the Republican Party of Virginia office was “indefensible.”
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Mayor-elect Levar Stoney both asked for calm.
"We recognize that we can’t always predict the will of the people, but we can have respect for the results of the election, that’s what we have to do, and that’s what we’re expecting our citizens to do,” Jones said.
"I ask that the citizens of our great city, respect what makes this city great, and what makes this nation great, and that is to do it in a peaceful, non-violent way,” Stoney said.