Vancouver police prepare for protests at new Trump tower
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Police are preparing for protests when President Donald Trump’s two oldest sons officially open a new Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver on Tuesday, and the U.S. consulate is warning Americans to stay away.
Const. Jason Doucette said Monday that authorities expected “a number of marches” downtown throughout the day and police would ensure things remained under control.
The anti-Trump protests are set to take place outside the building while brothers Donald Jr. and Eric Trump attend opening events inside.
The Trump-branded tower is a source of anger for many people who resent the lasting reminder of the U.S. president’s politics in the coastal city that is known for progressive values and diversity.
The U.S. consulate in Vancouver issued a security message to U.S. citizens warning of the planned demonstrations and telling Americans to avoid the Trump tower and the site of another planned demonstration.
“Local police will monitor the events. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations,” the consulate said.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, among others, has urged the developer to drop the Trump name. City councilman Kerry Jang calls the tower a “beacon of racism.”
“The name Trump has now become synonymous not with luxury and lifestyle but with racism, sexism and intolerance. With his name on that building, one of Vancouver’s tallest and most iconic buildings, it just becomes a beacon of racism, and it’s just not Vancouver,” Jang said.
Donald Trump Jr. brushed off his father’s Vancouver detractors in an interview with CTV television last year, calling them “ridiculous” and “disgusting.”
Joo Kim Tiah, a Malaysian who runs the Canada-based Holborn Development company, said he was “extremely stressed” after Trump entered politics well after he signed the partnership agreement with the Trump organization.
“I was terrified,” Joo Kim told The Associated Press last week. “The people who ran the city were not happy with me. I was scared, but I think they understand. They understand that I’m trapped into — not trapped, locked into — an agreement.”
The Vancouver tower is the second Trump-branded property to open since the president took office in January, following a golf course in Dubai.
After Trump suggested during his presidential campaign that some Mexicans entering the U.S. are rapists, a Mexican-born construction worker later hung his native country’s flag atop the building to remind Trump his compatriots helped build the tower.
“That Trump tower has become the official place to protest and show your discontent. Not the consulate or embassy,” said Diego Reyna, who hung the flag. “We’re not taking it out on the American people. We’re taking it out on Trump.”
Associated Press writer Cara McKenna reported this story in Vancouver and AP writer Rob Gillies reported from Toronto. AP writer Manuel Valdes in Vancouver contributed to this report.