Thousands of people marched in downtown Los Angeles to protest the election of Donald Trump as president. Hillary Clinton won the state of California but lost the overall General Election. November 12, 2016, downtown LA, CA.
Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

PHOTOS: How LA countered a volatile president, from Trump's inauguration to insurrection

By Ted Soqui, Amy Ta, Drew Tewksbury

Four years. For many Los Angeles residents, Donald Trump’s presidency meant direct challenges to their ways of life. On day one, the Trump administration began to overturn laws that were fundamental to scores of Angelenos. Trump banned travelers from Muslim-majority countries to enter the U.S., attacked women’s rights, and threatened the ability of young immigrants to stay and work in this country.

The images below show how the city responded to the challenges of the Trump administration between 2017 and 2020. Voters chose California Senator Kamala Harris to become the next vice president — the first woman, first African American, and first Asian American in that role. Angelenos took to the streets to demand racial justice after the police killings of more African Americans. Dodger Stadium was transformed into one of the largest COVID-19 testing sites in the country — amid soaring coronavirus rates as Trump downplayed its dangers — then a vaccination super site. 

These images show LA’s struggles and victories during the Trump years, and how activists and new leaders emerged. 

2017

Pasted Image Molly Cleator (R) takes part in the Pussyhat social media campaign to provide pink hats for protesters in the Women's March in Washington, D.C., the day after the presidential inauguration, in Los Angeles, California, January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 

Pasted Image Angelenos gathered at LAX International Airport to protest Trump’s Muslim travel ban and support people of the Islamic faith, on January 17,2017. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Black Lives Matter demonstrators gather in front of the Men’s Central Jail on Trump’s Inauguration Day. January 20, 2017, Men’s Central Jail, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Black Lives Matter Caravan for Justice demonstrators gather in front of the Men’s Central Jail on Trump’s Inauguration Day. January 20, 2017, Men’s Central Jail, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.  

Pasted Image Black Lives Matter Caravan for Justice demonstrators out front of the Men’s Central Jail on Trump’s Inauguration Day. January 20, 2017, Men’s Central Jail, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.   

Pasted Image Several groups met up at LA City Hall to rally and protest against the Trump presidential Inaugural. January 20, 2017, City Hall, LA, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.  

Pasted Image Several groups met up at LA City Hall to rally and protest against the Trump presidential Inaugural. January 20, 2017, City Hall, LA, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.  

Pasted Image Several groups met up at LA City Hall to rally and protest against the Trump presidential Inaugural. January 20, 2017, City Hall, LA, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.  

Pasted Image A woman holds a sign saying “Los Angeles against Trump” in front of LA City Hall, protesting the Trump presidential Inaugural. January 20, 2017, City Hall, LA, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.  

Pasted Image One day after Trump’s inauguration, more than 750,000 people participated in the Women’s March in downtown LA. This was a local chapter of a worldwide event to support women’s rights and reproductive rights, prompted by Trump’s statements that were considered misogynistic. January 21, 2017, downtown LA, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image People protest U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban on Muslim-majority countries at the international terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon.

Pasted Image Demonstrators in support of the immigration rules implemented by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, rally at Los Angeles international airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ringo Chiu 

Pasted Image U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers detain a suspect as they conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles, California, U.S. on February 7, 2017. Courtesy Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

Pasted Image Tim Treadstone, left, a Trump supporter and social media strategist known by the name Baked Alaska, films Nazmun Nahar, who came to Los Angeles with friends for spring break, as they argue outside the Oscar ceremony in Hollywood, February 26, 2017. Later, Treadstone live streamed while invading the U.S. Capitol building January 6, 2021, and the video was used by the FBI to identify culprits. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

Pasted Image A prayer service at the border fence in Tijuana. Many of the participants would take communion then attempt to cross the border in the U.S. later in the evening. March 5, 2017, US/Mexico border, Tijuana, Mexico. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Eloteros Alex and his son Benjamin Ramirez attend a rally for eloteros and street vendors in Los Angeles. Supporters of Benjamin Ramirez and LA street vendors gathered near the area Ramirez was attacked earlier in the week. July 27, 2017, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Thousands of Dreamers and DACA supporters march in downtown LA after Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The march started at Olvera Street and ended at LA City Hall. September 5, 2017, Olvera Street, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

2018

Pasted Image Some 60,000 UTLA school teachers demonstrate in front of LA City Hall during day five of their city-wide strike. January 18, 2018, downtown, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Thousands of LA area residents attended the "March For Our Lives" rally in downtown Los Angeles. The march started at Pershing Square and finished with a rally at LA City Hall, featuring student speakers and celebrities. The event was held in the wake of several school and mass shootings. March 24, 2018, downtown Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image People watch from a shopping mall food court in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Koreatown as Singapore hosts a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake 

Pasted Image California Senator Kamala Harris at the “Families Belong Together: Freedom For Immigrants” march and rally in downtown Los Angeles. Simultaneous marches and rallies were held all over the U.S. June 30, 2018, downtown Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke to a crowd in downtown Los Angeles. She was running for U.S. Congress in New York City. August 2, 2018, downtown Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image The Woolsey Fire burns through the coastal communities of Trancas and Zuma Beach November 9, 2018, Zuma Beach, CA., destroying homes and displacing the community. High wind and low humidity quickly spread the fire. Trump repeatedly blamed California government for the fires. “They have massive fires again in California,” Trump said at a campaign rally in August 2020. “Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us.” Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

2019

Pasted Image Democratic presidential candidate hopeful Beto O'Rourke holds a campaign rally in Los Angeles. April 27, 2019, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Democratic presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris (CA) at a rally held at the Southwest College in Los Angeles. May 19, 2019, Los Angeles, CA USA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.  

Pasted Image Westchester residents demonstrate against the Trump administration for caging and separating immigrant families in federal custody. June 30, 2019, Westchester, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.  

Pasted Image U.S. President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 17, 2019. He told reporters that Los Angeles was “fed up” with unhoused people living in tents: “We can’t let Los Angeles … and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening.” REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Pasted Image U.S. President Donald Trump listens to his newly announced White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien speak to reporters after he named O'Brien as his fourth national security adviser at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

Pasted Image Thousands of Los Angeles residents attend a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. September 30, 2019 MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Democratic presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris (CA) at a rally at the Southwest College in Los Angeles. May 19, 2019, Los Angeles, CA USA.Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.

2020

Pasted Image Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a campaign rally in Los Angeles. He was accompanied onstage with his sister Valerie Biden Owens and his wife Jill Biden. March 3, 2020, Baldwin Hills, LA, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Sunset Blvd was deserted as COVID-19 restrictions are keeping tourists and locals away, March 23, 2020, West Hollywood, CA. "We've had horrible flus," Trump said March 24, “but we've never closed down the country for the flu. So you say to yourself, 'What is this all about?'" Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted ImageA drive-thru COVID-19 test site was set up at Charles Drew University in South Los Angeles. This was the first COVID-19 test site made for the residents of South Los Angeles. April 8, 2020, Charles Drew University, LA, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Black Lives Matter protestors gathered in front of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s residence. June 2, 2020, Getty House, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image A California National stands guard in front of Los Angeles City Hall. The National Guard was summoned after several days of uprising in the wake of the George Floyd killing by police in Minneapolis, Mn. June 3, 2020, City Hall, Los Angeles, CA. Trump often described protesters as "thugs. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image Preparations for the All Black Lives Matter march in Hollywood. June 13, 2020, Hollywood, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.  

Pasted Image About 200 people attended the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” protest in Beverly Gardens Park. November 8, 2020, Beverly Hills, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW. 

Pasted Image A woman carries a banner that reads “Trump 2020: Keep America great,” as a fellow demonstrator waves a small American flag in support of Donald Trump. November 8, 2020, Beverly Hills, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.  

Pasted Image Dodger Stadium was one of the country’s largest drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. It later was transformed into a vaccination site in 2021. November 14, 2020, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Ted Soqui for KCRW.