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Trump presidency under preemptive siege as thousands protest in US

Trump Tower is epicentre of furious demonstration as president-elect's team fleshes out his cabinet picks
New York police officers block demonstrators during protest against US president-elect Donald Trump in front of Trump Tower in New York City on Saturday (AFP)

President-elect Donald Trump huddled with advisers inside his Manhattan residence on Saturday, plotting his next moves as thousands of demonstrators besieged Trump Tower and marched through other US cities in a fourth day of protests.

Rallies were scheduled throughout the day in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland and other US cities where organizers said they hoped to continue the momentum after several nights of demonstrations triggered by the real-estate mogul's surprise win in Tuesday's presidential election.

Several thousand protesters marched peacefully up New York City's Fifth Avenue past its glitzy storefronts before filling the streets around Trump Tower, the president-elect's skyscraper home.

"This will prove to be a great time in the lives of ALL Americans. We will unite and we will win, win, win!" Trump tweeted, as more than 3,500 people protested outside amid cries of "Trump is NOT my president" and "New York hates you".

As activists look to the next four years with Trump in the White House while his party controls both houses of Congress, some are preparing for what they hope will be the nation's most enduring demonstrations since the Occupy Wall Street movement.

What a Trump administration will bring remains something of a mystery. But a national resistance among liberal activists and others who say they do not support his presidency is rising in a way not seen in modern presidential history, the New York Times said. Thousands of people have taken to the streets to preemptively denounce a man whose administration they fear will be rooted in bigotry. Students have walked out of classes, protesters have blocked highways and demonstrators have clashed with the police.

"We're horrified the country has elected an incredibly unqualified, misogynist, racist on a platform that was just totally hateful," said Mary Florin-McBride, 62, a retired banker from New York who held a sign reading, "No Fascism In America."

Trump Tower has been the epicentre of a furious round of protest activity as, inside, the Trump team fleshes out his cabinet picks and works to fill hundreds of other top government jobs. 

Among those seen entering the tower Saturday were Nigel Farage, whose UK Independence Party backed the Brexit vote that stunned Britons just as Trump's victory did many Americans. Farage said he was there only as "a tourist".

Also entering the building was the provocative documentary filmmaker Michael Moore - whose impromptu effort to meet with Trump was blocked by Secret Service agents. 

Filmmaker Michael Moore videos himself with smartphone in Trump Tower on Saturday (AFP)

Marion Marechal-Le Pen, a rising star in France's far-right National Front and niece to its leader, Marine Le Pen, said on Saturday she had contacted the Trump team about working with them.

About 10,000 protesters gathered in Los Angeles beneath MacArthur Park's palm trees holding placards including "Dump Trump" and "Minorities Matter," before marching towards downtown.

Some of the demonstrators waved American, Mexican and rainbow flags. Holding a "Keep Love Legal" sign, 25-year-old Los Angeles resident Alex Seedman called Trump a fascist.

"I'm afraid he will repeal marriage equality," said Seedman. "I'm gay, and I have a lot of friends who are black and Latino and who are afraid for their lives."

About 100,000 people had indicated on Facebook that they were planning to attend or were interested in the events in the three cities. Organizers stressed that violence and vandalism would not be tolerated.

Hours before Saturday's rallies began, a protester in Portland was shot as he took part in a march across the Morrison Bridge. He is expected to live, but the suspect remains at large, police said.

Since Trump's victory, demonstrators in several cities have decried the Republican's campaign promises to restrict immigration and register Muslims, as well as allegations that the former reality-TV star sexually abused women.

The demonstrations so far have been largely peaceful, although in Portland protesters smashed store windows, sprayed graffiti and damaged cars as they clashed with police who used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

Dozens of protesters have been arrested and a handful of police injured.

The demonstrations since the election have been impromptu affairs, quickly organized by young Americans with a diverse array of backgrounds and agendas.

Trump initially denounced the protests and said they were "incited" by the media, but reversed course on Friday and praised the demonstrators' "passion for our great country".

"We will all come together and be proud!" Trump said on Twitter.

Despite taking a more measured tone, the Republican has yet to respond to mounting calls to reassure Americans who fear a xenophobic crackdown under his authority.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate groups, has tracked more than 200 incidents of election-related harassment and intimidation in the three days following the election.

More than 47,000 people have signed an SPLC petition urging Trump to clearly distance himself from "haters" - from white nationalists to anti-Muslim and anti-gay extremists - who are celebrating his victory.

Many voters were shocked by the result, after opinion polls failed to predict a win for Trump.

Some 60.3 million people voted for Trump, fewer than the 60.8 million who cast ballots for the Democrate candidate, Hillary Clinton. But Trump's strong showing in Midwest swing states, including Michigan, meant he triumphed in the Electoral College that ultimately picks the president.

The president-elect's biggest support base was the broad middle of the country, from the Heartland through the Rust Belt, with voters in states that had long supported Democrats choosing Trump after he promised to end corruption in Washington DC and bring back jobs by renegotiating international trade deals.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.