Shortly after starting time for the protest, a police officer approached, warning that we had to move across the street, away from hotel property. He requested that all participants stay on the long, narrow sidewalk. We would not be permitted to stand in the “landscaping,” we were told, by police – public and private – in seemingly polite, but firm, terms.
They appeared to mean the grassy expanse to the rear of the sidewalk, but there was a berm between the grass and the pedestrian pavememt. After a bit of bickering, everyone was warned to stay off that area, too.
Later, someone announced that after consulting with police officials, we should be permitted to stand up to 5 feet away from the sidewalk. But officers wearing light green vests stood in that space from then on, effectively almost daring protesters to leave the sidewalk.
Back across the street, a dozen or so officers from the town of Rosemont stood ready, half of them on bicycles. While the grass/pavement issued was being argued, they marched across the street, pushing bikes as needed, to stand in a row right at the curb, facing the protesters. Though the number of people involved was small, the intimidating scene was eerily reminiscent of the main protest in Chicago's Grant Park in 1968, during the Democratic National Convention that nominated Hubert Humphrey.
Chants have been a major element in protests against the Trump administration, and the Rosemont event carried on that tradition: “Trump and Pence are fascists, there's no doubt," protesters shouted. "Rise up, rise up. Drive them out.”
Another chant: “Hey, Pence, what do ya say. How many kids did you cage today?” And another: “Women’s rights are not for sale. We won’t live in a Handmaid’s Tale.” Another, calling to mind the immigration crisis, was simpler yet: “Immigrants, stay. Trump and Pence, go away.”
As usual, a number of protesters carried signs – some of them quite large. In addition, a trio of lifesize effigies, including one of Mr. Trump himself, joined the festivities.
At one point, the group moved 5 feet onto the grassless berm. Little time passed before they were warned again to return to the sidewalk, which felt quite crowded because it was so narrow.
Inside the hotel lobby, before the protest got underway, people (Trump/Pence supporters, presumably) lined up to get into the room where the vice-president would be speaking. Later, we learned that a few protesters had indeed made their way inside.
At the protest's peak, about 70 opponents of the Trump administration were participating.