Protestors gathered outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower Tuesday, while an invite-only launch happened inside. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press)

Protesters target Trump hotel in Vancouver on opening day

Singing, chanting crowd rejects U.S. president’s brand

Demonstrators gathered outside the new Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Vancouver on Tuesday, as the invitation-only grand opening took place inside.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s two sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, were expected to attend. Police were on scene, both in front and behind a waist-high fence blocking the hotel’s entrance on West Georgia Street.

More than 100 people stood outside, holding signs and singing the Canadian national anthem.

The $360-million hotel and condo development, with a unique twisting design by late architect Arthur Erickson, had a soft launch last month.

The 69-storey building has become a destination for protests over the president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, comments about women and promises to build a wall on the border with Mexico to keep to keep migrants out of the United States.

And Tuesday’s protest was no different than the handful of others in recent months.

“It’s a way to get under his skin – which he deserves,” said one protester wishing to go by the name Fatimah.

With a sign in hand that read “Trump: A bad brand for Vancouver,” she said she had nothing against Trump’s two sons, but doesn’t believe the 49th U.S. president has truly disentangled himself from his company.

“That [sign is] a symbol, and so is my presence here,” she said.

Some critics of Tuesday’s protest argued this isn’t the leader of Canada, and boycotting the hotel will only hurt Vancouver’s tourism industry.

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“If the Hilton’s can have a hotel then why can’t Trump have a hotel here?” asked Vancouver resident Joe Taylor.

“[His] presidency and business are two different things… if he keeps that separate he’ll do fine,” he said, adding that Trump doesn’t actually own the hotel.

Another protester, Michelle Fortin, said it’s imperative that people put “their money where their hearts are.”

“I think if you are informed, and you understand that behind the brand is also a belief system, if you choose to stay at any of his hotels or purchase any of the clothing line or home line, what you’re saying is mysogony, racism, homophobia and lack of inclusion is what you stand for,” she said. “There are other really great hotels that don’t have those things attached to their brand.”

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