On the eve of the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States, thousands of protesters and a group of Hollywood celebrities took to the streets in New York City in what was meant to be a show of unity and a prelude to what organizers hoped would be a weekend of dissent around the country, New York Times reports.

Mark Ruffalo, an actor and one of the organizers of the protest, said in a statement before the rally that “thousands of New Yorkers are coming together to stand up for one another, as we will do every day, to protect the values we hold dear — to fight for health care, criminal justice, immigrant rights, and action on climate change.”

As Mr. Trump was serenaded at a concert on the National Mall in Washington that featured performers like The Piano Guys, a YouTube sensation, and the percussionist DJ Ravidrums, Robert DeNiro, took the stage in New York to mock Mr. Trump’s twitter habit as Cher and Mr. Ruffalo watched.

Later, Alec Baldwin reprised his Trump impersonation from “Saturday Night Live,” joking that he was heading over to the Russian Consulate, before calling for “100 days of resistance” from the crowd.

Speaking backstage, Cher said that she took part because “I want to show people the danger.” She also said that she doubted Mr. Trump would find the White House to his taste. “The Lincoln bedroom is fabulous,” she said, “but it’s not big.”

The city’s Democratic mayor, Bill de Blasio, also took part, telling the crowd, “Tomorrow, Donald Trump will have power but tomorrow, you will have power as well. Donald Trump may control the agenda in Washington, but we control our destiny as Americans.”

“The mayor’s presence isn’t about protesting,” said Eric F. Phillips, the top spokesman for Mr. de Blasio. “It’s about standing up for New York and clearly articulating how we won’t roll back progressive policy that has helped make our city great.”

Mr. Phillips, however, acknowledged that others present on Thursday night might be more pointed in their remarks. “I don’t anticipate everyone will be there for the exact same reason,” he said.

In the days after Mr. Trump’s election, protesters gathered night after night, often at the base of Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. On Thursday, with his presidency hours from becoming reality, they rallied near Central Park, in the shadow of another one of the many skyscrapers bearing the Trump name.

Many said they had a personal fear of the president-elect. “Trump is a direct threat to me and my humanity,” said Ravenne Reid, 19, a student at John Jay College, as the rally near the Trump International Hotel and Tower began. “I’m worried about student loans and women’s rights and a million other issues. I couldn’t not be here.”

The rally was likely a sign of things to come over the next four years, with Trump-branded buildings in the president-elect’s hometown making the perfect backdrop for opponents of his policies.

To Ms. Reid, that seemed like an opportunity. “You can’t ignore what’s outside your window,” she said. “I’m hoping the sight of all these people resonates with him personally.”

“At this point, the only way to defeat Trump is mass resistance in the streets,” said Ms. Hirsch, an organizer with Refuse Fascism, an anti-Trump group. “Think Tahrir Square, think South Korea — that’s what needs to happen in this country.”

The New York rally was one of many in a protest movement that has rippled across the country for days preceding Mr. Trump’s inauguration, culminating in the planned Women’s Marches on Saturday in Washington and other cities.

Caravans, buses and individual travelers have been trickling into Washington throughout the week, with protesters finding housing at local churches and on friends’ couches.

Source: New York Times