LOS ANGELES—When anti-Trump protesters turned the corner onto Alameda Street last night, the darkened building on the corner suddenly flickered to life with a wall of winking lights coming through the razor-thin windows.
“Those are immigrants who are facing deportation!” a woman yelled, pointing to the Metropolitan Detention Center.
An electric charge went through the crowd as protesters realized what was happening: Dozens of detained immigrants were showing their support for the anti-Trump march by flicking flashlights and reading lights on and off inside their cells. It provided a surreal light show for the street protest, which came to an unscheduled stop outside the building to cheer the unseen inmates locked inside.
Protesters, who had been chanting “Not my president!” and “Fuck Donald Trump!” turned the march into a rally as people in the street made a connection with the immigrants detained on the other side of the concrete walls.
Inmates who didn’t have flashlights banged on their windows, apparently with metal objects, creating a loud staccato of clicks that could be heard from the street. It’s unknown how many detainees joined the protest from inside, but the detention center can hold 908 inmates.
It was a powerful bonding moment for people who feel marginalized by Trump’s America, and a sign that they aren’t going to take it quietly.