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'President Hate, Not Welcome in Our State': Thousands Counter Trump With March for Love and Solidarity in Pittsburgh

"Nationalism, anti-Semitism, and white nationalism cannot be allowed to exist in our city. For many of us, our families came to this country to escape brutal leaders like Trump."

An estimated 4000 people gathered to march for solidarity in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood while President Donald Trump was visiting October 30, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

As President Donald Trump arrived in Pittsburgh on Tuesday amid opposition from local officials and activists who argued the man responsible for stirring so much racist hatred should not visit the site of a deadly mass shooting motivated by anti-Semitism, thousands of peaceful demonstrators flooded the streets near the Tree of Life synagogue to condemn Trump's embrace of white nationalism and demand that he end his assault on immigrants, refugees, and other minority communities.

"The shooting is almost like a manifestation of his hate that really hits home. I wanted to let him know we do not want him here."
—Elisa Borrero
While the protestors and mourners were barred from approaching the synagogue as Trump lit memorial candles near the site of the deadliest attack on Jews in American history, reporters who accompanied the president said they could hear the chants and songs of protestors who marched down nearby streets.

As Trump attempted to leave the synagogue, police rushed to carve out a path for the presidential motorcade—but Trump was ultimately forced to take a different route after authorities were overwhelmed by the sheer number of protestors filling the streets wielding signs that read "President Hate is not welcome in our state" and "Your words have consequences."

"The shooting is almost like a manifestation of his hate that really hits home," Elisa Borrero, a 26-year-old demonstrator and Pittsburgh resident, told Al Jazeera. "I wanted to let him know we do not want him here."

Rev. Susan Rothenberg—who lives just a block away from this weekend's anti-Semitic attack—shouted "it's not about you!" as the president and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Pittsburgh.

"Let the families grieve. This is our neighborhood," Rothenberg shouted from the front of her home. "You are not welcome here!"

Following Tuesday's afternoon demonstrations, massive crowds gathered in the streets later in the evening to continue mourning the victims of Saturday's hate-driven atrocity, which left 11 dead and several more injured.

"As we're grieving, we recognize that the murder of 11 Jews on Shabbat did not happen in a vacuum—this violence is part of white nationalism. White nationalism targets a rotating cast of scapegoats with violence," IfNotNow, an American Jewish advocacy group that helped organize Tuesday's protests, declared in a series of tweets on Tuesday. "Nationalism, anti-Semitism, and white nationalism cannot be allowed to exist in our city. We have seen this before—here, and in countries our ancestors fled. For many of us, our families came to this country to escape brutal leaders like Trump."

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