Standing outside the state capitol on Sunday, Christina Janowitz, of Albany, unfurled a blue and red flag. From afar it looked like she may be the first supporter of President Donald Trump to show up outside the capitol Sunday. But instead the sign sent another message: “Trump Lost, LOL.”
“I think someone needs to show that someone is standing up for our democracy against fascism,” Janowitz said.
Janowitz and around a half dozen other would-be counter-demonstrators waited outside the capitol to see if warnings of pro-Trump protests at state capitols around the country materialized in New York’s capital city. But shortly after noon Sunday, the largest cohort outside the capitol was the nearly 20 journalists who snapped pictures of state police patrolling the capitol and interviewed Janowitz and other activists who showed up to counter any potential pro-Trump faction. At least one television news crew drove up from the New York City suburbs.
City, county and state law enforcement offered a noticeable – but far from overwhelming – presence outside the capitol building, which was surrounded by fencing. A group of five state police officers, including one carrying a long gun, walked circles around the building, while other officers monitored the Empire State Plaza and car patrols frequently drove up and down the street’s surrounding the center of state government. Drones, presumably controlled by law enforcement, hovered just above the capitol.
While law enforcement officials around the country warned of planned pro-Trump protests and rallies, including threatened violence, no organized support for Trump materialized in Albany by Sunday afternoon.
Abdul, an Albany resident who did not provide his last name, also carried a flag outside the capitol on Sunday – the red-and-black-striped Black Liberation flag.
“This is a flag that stands against racism,” Abdul said.
Abdul said he showed up to the capitol to help protect his community from the potential of white supremacist protests, adding that he didn’t trust the local police to protect the Black communities that surround the capitol.
“We keep us safe, these are our streets,” he said.
Abdul said he was pleased no Trump supporters had turned out but also said he expected they would return sooner or later.
“I’m hoping they don’t show up,” he said of potential pro-Trump protesters. “Nobody needs to hear that… it’s Sunday.”
Shortly before 1 p.m., as some media started to leave their post outside the capitol, a group of about 30 kids on bicycles rode down Washington Avenue, popping wheelies and registering their own feelings about the outgoing president: “[Expletive] Trump.”
“That made my heart feel good,” Abdul said after the kids rode off down State Street.
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