Trump Inauguration Week: D.C. Braces for Tens of Thousands of Protesters
Jan 20, 2017 06:09 AM EST
Whether coming to celebrate or to protest, going to Washington for Donald Trump's inauguration might just be the biggest hassle in the United States. Tens of thousands of people are expected to flood the city's streets to watch the newly elected president make his first address as the 45th president of the United States.
According to NBC News, the National Park Service has provided 22 permits for events that will take place over inauguration week on park service land. Mike Litterst, public affairs officer of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said that they received a considerable amount of permits this year when they only typically provide about half a dozen for past inaugurations.
Law enforcement officials have been busy for months preparing for the billionaire businessman's inauguration and series of planned anti-Trump marches and protests around the nation's capital. A D.C. homeland security official told the New York Times that his team was preparing for 400,000 to 500,000 people at the march and roughly an estimate of 800,000 to 900,000 people to attend overall. This is significantly less than Obama's inauguration during 2009 that drew 1.8 million people. Nevertheless, it is expected that security expenses will exceed $100 million.
A weekend of protests already began Thursday night with police in Washington D.C. using pepper spray on the protesters. Groups have been planning for weeks to make their opposition known. Some, like the ANSWER Coalition, are planning to be a vocal and visible presence but not engage in any potentially illegal activities. Ben Becker, activist and organizer for the group, said Trump provoked a wave of protest and outrage. His election became a point of protest for women, Muslim communities, immigrants, and the list goes on as people feel threatened of what a Trump presidency would lead.
Others, hope to create chaos. Such is the case with Disrupt J20 whose aim is to use direct intervention to interrupt the inaugural process. An organizer for the group said that the idea is to shut down access to the parade with the broader goal of shutting down the entire city and creating a sense of paralysis.
Finally, the largest protest is expected on the day after the inauguration with the Woman's March predicted to draw hundreds of thousands of protesters and some other corresponding protests across the country. This is reflected on the permit acquired for 200,000 demonstrators and responses received through social media.
All anti-Trump protesters share the belief that the inauguration day would only be the beginning as they continue to fight and let their voices be heard until the administration takes a complete turn towards minorities and various other stakeholders.