Thousands protest Donald Trump in NYC, Boston, Chicago

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The morning after Election Day smacked Democrats with a combination of shock and sadness.

Donald Trump would be the next US President. For thousands, disappointment turned to protest as Hillary Clinton supporters channeled their disbelief into a single defiant message.

"Not my President," they chanted. "Not today."

In response to Trump's victory, a shocking win fueled by the rural roar of a dismayed white America, tens of thousands of Americans in at least 25 US cities - including New York and Nashville, Chicago and Cleveland, San Francisco and Seattle - shouted anti-Trump slogans, started fires, and held candlelight vigils to mourn the result.

Many of those demonstrations, taking place in areas that supported Clinton, continued early Thursday morning and led to dozens of arrests.

"People are furious, not just at the results of the election, but the rhetoric of Donald Trump," Ahmed Kanna, an organizer for Social Alternative Berkeley, told CNN's Don Lemon.

Demonstrations outside Trump's properties

In New York, authorities estimated that as many as 5,000 people -- including pop star Lady Gaga, a staunch Clinton supporter -- protested the real estate mogul outside Trump Tower.

Their concerns ranged from policies, such as his proposed plan to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, to the polarizing tenor of his campaign that had stoked xenophobic fears.

"I came out here to let go of a lot of fear that was sparked as soon as I saw the results," protester Nick Powers said. He said he feared Trump will support stronger stop-and-frisk policies that would put many people in prison. He was worried that Trump's victory would embolden sexist views.

Fifteen Trump Tower protesters were arrested Wednesday night for disorderly conduct, an NYPD spokesman said.

In Chicago, activists marched down Lake Shore Drive -- an eight-lane expressway along Lake Michigan -- toward the Windy City's Trump Tower with signs such as one that said, "I still can't believe I have to protest for civil rights."

CNN's Ryan Young, who saw a few thousand people there, said many chanted vulgarities toward the President-elect -- who's accustomed to using such language.

"As a nation we thought we had come so far, but it seems like we're taking many steps back," one woman said. "We want to come together to change that."

Meanwhile, protesters in Washington chanted "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA" as they marched downtown to the Trump International Hotel. Elsewhere in the nation's capital, an illuminated sign proclaimed that the US is "better than bigotry."

Their cries turned profane after a solemn gathering of thousands attended a candlelight vigil outside the White House to mourn the election loss.

"Everything that has been built up has been destroyed," protester Brian Barto told CNN affiliate WJLA-TV. "America has failed (minorities)."

Trump effigy torched on the West Coast

Headed into Thursday, more than a thousand protesters in Los Angeles, including young Latino protesters, rallied outside City Hall, according to CNN's Paul Vercammen.

They chanted "I will not live in fear," "Fight back, stand up" and "¡Si se puede!" (Spanish for "It can be done").

Protesters also set on fire a piñata depicting the head of President-elect.

Several protesters said they feared that family or friends might be deported once Trump takes office. Brooklyn White, an 18-year-old protester who voted for Clinton, held a sign that said, "hate won't win."

"We can't let it stop us," she said. "If he's the president then fine, but if Donald Trump is going to be it, then he has to listen."

Early Thursday morning, the protesters marched onto the 101 Freeway and blocked traffic. Authorities arrested at least 13 protesters, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said.

In Oakland, California, police said as many as 7,000 demonstrators took to the streets Wednesday night. By then, trash fires burned on a highway. Johnna Watson, public information officer with Oakland's police department, said several officers were injured. More than 24 people were taken into custody.

A few miles away at Berkeley High School, about 1,500 students walked out of classes Wednesday morning. It was one of numerous high school walkouts that occurred nationwide following the election.

Supporters: Trump an 'agent of change'

As anti-Trump protesters aired their grievances with the election, supporters have also come out in some places to express their enthusiasm for the President-elect.

In New York on Wednesday morning, groups of Trump supporters cheered his victory outside Trump Tower. Others went to the White House late Tuesday and early Wednesday to show their support.

Nicholas Elliot, a Georgetown University student, said he was elated about Trump's election as he compared it to the United Kingdom's Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

"I feel pretty good, a year and a half process has ended and it ended my way," the Texan told CNN affiliate WJLA.

JD Vance, author of the book "Hillbilly Elegy," told CNN that Trump supporters in middle America voted for the President-elect because so few people -- including the Clinton or her supporters -- had paid attention to their plight.

"They see Trump as is an agent of change and agent of protest against folks who they feel have really failed in government," Vance said.

CNN's Marc Preston said the "Band-Aid" has been ripped off over the past 24 hours. Now comes the hard part: finding middle ground.

"All that anger that has been contained outside of Washington, D.C. and New York that we don't see in middle America necessarily although these are urban cities, everyone's starting to see it," Preston said. "There is a lot of healing that has got to happen."