Public Safety

Anti-Trump protesters briefly stop interstate traffic near Iowa City

Photo from Iowa Department of Transportation traffic camera
Photo from Iowa Department of Transportation traffic camera

IOWA CITY — High school walkouts, campus rallies and other protests across Iowa City following the election of Donald Trump as the next president culminated Friday evening with a crowd of about 100 stopping traffic on Interstate 80.

The collection of anti-Trump protesters — which included teenagers who walked out at City and West high schools earlier in the day and University of Iowa students who staged their own rally on the UI Pentacrest — marched onto I-80 during evening rush hour about 5 p.m.

“Our point isn’t to hurt people or to do anything bad,” said Hailey Held, 18, of Marion. “We just want to let them know we’re hurting.”

Iowa City police officers, who already for hours had been dealing with protesters running into traffic near the UI campus downtown, helped monitor the I-80 protest, which did not result in any injuries.

Iowa City police Sgt. Chris Akers confirmed the protest stopped all eastbound traffic on I-80 for about 20 minutes.

“They were on the interstate,” he said. “They had the interstate stopped.”

With a squad car parked sideways to block the eastbound on-ramp at the Dubuque Street ramp, Akers said the protest actually “facilitated itself fairly smoothly.”

“It all kind of came to a stop in a very smooth and controlled fashion,” he said.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Students involved said they want people to know Trump doesn’t represent them and that they’re not going to put up with xenophobic, racist and hateful rhetoric or actions.

“I can’t have someone be my president who makes me feel like I don’t matter,” Held said.

She said friends at West High have been the target of hate speech since Trump’s election.

Jena Shaver, an 18-year-old West High senior who identifies as gay, said she also comes from a Jewish family and hangs out with a multicultural crowd.

“There was a girl the day after Trump got elected who wears a hijab that was in the lunchroom and got harassed by a bunch of boys,” Shaver said.

“It was about the hatred that goes around in our school, especially since Trump got elected,” she said. “All the sudden, people started thinking that it was OK to do what he does.”

Anaya McCutcheon, 18, participated in the I-80 protest Friday after walking out of West High earlier in the day.

“Being bi-racial, it’s really hard to walk in the hallways,” she said. “I get all of it. So many hate terms.”

Jo Turner-Greve, 55, of North Liberty, also participated in Friday’s protests including the one on the interstate.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

“This is not our America. We are not going to put up with it,” she said. “This is the first step. They are going to find out we are not going to roll over and take it. They are going to have to deal with us every day, day in and day out.”

A video of the protest as it made its way through Iowa City

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.