Were tens of thousands of protestors across the country paid to walk the streets, hold signs, and chant anti-Trump sayings? Many on social media said the protests were staged and fake.
Thursday night was day two of protesters taking to the streets in Downtown Austin to protest President-Elect Donald Trump. Something causing quite the controversy, it is going around on social media these protests are fake and these people are paid.
Some pictures of charter buses were Tweeted just before nine Wednesday night by someone in Austin with the caption “Anti-Trump protestors in Austin today are not as organic as they seem. Here are the busses they came in. #fakeprotests #trump2016 #Austin.” As of Thursday night, it had been retweeted more than 11,000 times. The Twitter user goes on to say “I did not see loading or unloading. There were even more busses than in pics. Quite near protests at right timing. Looks very planned. Every group Trump has possibly offended seemed too perfectly represented. The busses just blocks away,” when responding to questions of its legitimacy.
The charter buses were lined up along 5th Street near Waller in Downtown, the closest point to the rally would’ve been Congress Avenue which is about a mile away. The protest started on the West Mall on the UT campus about 3 miles away. Down the street about 1/2 mile is Austin Convention Center. Local businesses in the area said they’ve seen charter buses at the location prior to the election. Carol Scott-Duke, works in area, “We are definitely used to events happening around here with buses due to the convention center right over here and there’s event centers over here,” she said. One of those events happening at the time of the charter bus Twitter post at the convention center is the Tableau Convention. Kate Lyons is from Portland, Oregon and was one attending the convention. “It’s growing every year, five years ago it started with 250 people, now it was 13,000 attendees in person.” She said they have been using charter buses for the event. “They sold out all the hotels downtown and they ended having to send people to hotels that were outside the radius of the conference and sent buses out to ship people around for that. We saw them from day one which was Monday,” she said.