February 17, 2017 / 5:27 PM / 10 months ago

Anti-Trump energy flags during a second day of protests

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A second consecutive day of protests against U.S. President Donald Trump’s month-old administration appeared to lose momentum on Friday, with rallies in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York attracting small yet enthusiastic crowds.

Activists had called for a “general strike” a day after thousands of immigrants across the United States stayed home from work and school during “A Day Without Immigrants” to highlight the contributions of foreign-born workers to the American economy.

Strike4Democracy, one of the groups organizing Friday’s strike, said more than 100 public protests were expected around the country.

In New York, more than 16,000 people responded to a Facebook page set up for a rally at Washington Square Park in Manhattan, but fewer than 200 protesters were at the park an hour after the posted start time.

Crystal Thornebrooke, one of the organizers, said the event was intended to spark discussions about how activists can make progress in fighting Trump’s agenda.

“Introducing ourselves to people, hearing people, hearing their concerns with our administration and then build from there - this is the preliminary stages of organization,” she said.

In downtown Los Angeles, a rally at the Regent Theater drew about 60 demonstrators, waving signs and chanting, “Fight ignorance, not immigrants.”

“I have friends and family members who are undocumented immigrants, and I‘m scared for them to be deported,” said Priscilla Alburquenque, a 20-year-old college student.

Some protesters said Thursday’s walkout may have sapped some of the energy for Friday’s action.

“The immigration event yesterday was a big event, but not everyone can be at them all,” said Joe Balkis, a retired United Parcel Service worker who was one of approximately 75 protesters at Daley Plaza in Chicago.

Trump has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration and signed an executive order, which was put on hold by federal courts, restricting entry from seven Muslim-majority countries. Those policies, along with a series of federal raids last week, have alarmed immigrant rights’ groups.

Strike4Democracy urged Americans to stay away from work, donate their lunch money to a worthy cause and contact congressional representatives about the strike.

Since his Jan. 20 inauguration, Trump has faced a steady stream of protests and marches, highlighted by mass rallies focused on women’s rights that drew millions of people around the globe on the day after he was sworn in.

Additional reporting by Robert Chiarito in Chicago and Ian Simpson in Washington, writing by Joseph Ax in New York; editing by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis

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