Protests aim to dis­rupt Trump in­au­gu­ra­tion next week

Manila Bulletin - - World News -

WASH­ING­TON (Reuters) — Thou­sands of demon­stra­tors are ex­pected to turn out in Wash­ing­ton next week for protests aim­ing to “shut down” the in­au­gu­ra­tion of Don­ald Trump as the next US pres­i­dent, or­ga­niz­ers said on Thurs­day.

Pro­test­ers will at­tempt to close down 12 se­cu­rity check­points at the US Capi­tol, where Trump will take the oath of of­fice on Jan. 20, and along the 2.5-mile (4-km) pa­rade route down Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue, ac­cord­ing to lead­ers of a group called Dis­ruptJ20.

“We want to shut down the in­au­gu­ra­tion,” or­ga­nizer David Thurston told a news con­fer­ence. “We want to see a seething re­bel­lion de­velop in this city and across the coun­try.”

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Trump tran­si­tion team could not be im­me­di­ately reached for com­ment, nor could a spokesman for the District of Columbia po­lice.

Af­ter a deeply po­lar­iz­ing cam­paign, Trump’s sur­prise vic­tory in the Nov. 8 elec­tion has in­flamed pas­sions across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum.

The Repub­li­can pres­i­dent-elect’s sup­port­ers em­brace his brash, no-non­sense style and im­age as an as­tute prob­lem-solver. His de­trac­tors are dis­mayed by what they see as an au­thor­i­tar­ian bent and an ar­ray of provoca­tive pol­icy pro­nounce­ments.

Dis­ruptJ20, which is work­ing with Black Lives Mat­ter and other protest groups, said it also planned predawn block­ades and dis­rup­tive demon­stra­tions dur­ing in­au­gu­ral balls in the evening.

Some 300 Dis­ruptJ20 vol­un­teers will work to mo­bi­lize demon­stra­tors for a series of protests the group has dubbed the “Fes­ti­val of Re­sis­tance.”

“We are not in fa­vor of a peace­ful tran­si­tion of power, and we need to stop it,” or­ga­nizer Legba Car­refour said.

The group has three protest per­mits and “prom­ises other sur­prises,” said spokes­woman Sa­man­tha Miller.

All told, 27 protest groups have been granted per­mits, more than four times the av­er­age num­ber for past in­au­gu­ra­tions, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Park Ser­vice.

The Women’s March, on the day af­ter the in­au­gu­ra­tion, is ex­pected to at­tract 200,000 peo­ple, said the park ser­vice, which is­sues per­mits.

Tight se­cu­rity The in­au­gu­ra­tion is ex­pected to draw 800,000 spec­ta­tors, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials. That com­pares with some 1.8 mil­lion at­tend­ing Barack Obama’s 2009 in­au­gu­ra­tion as Amer­ica’s first black pres­i­dent, one of the largest crowds ever to gather in the US cap­i­tal for such an event.

Protest or­ga­niz­ers said they were con­cerned with the po­ten­tial for vi­o­lent clashes with Trump sup­port­ers.

“We are def­i­nitely wor­ried about our safety, so we’ll be train­ing to help keep peo­ple safe,” Miller said.

The group will have to nav­i­gate tight se­cu­rity pro­vided by three dozen law en­force­ment agen­cies, in­clud­ing the Capi­tol Po­lice, FBI, Se­cret Ser­vice, Na­tional Park Ser­vice and Na­tional Guard.

Se­cu­rity will in­clude more than 3,200 po­lice of­fi­cers from de­part­ments across the coun­try, 8,000 mem­bers of the Na­tional Guard and an ad­di­tional 5,000 ac­tive-duty mil­i­tary mem­bers.

Se­cu­rity costs have ex­ceeded $100 mil­lion, of­fi­cials said.

Last week, in­terim D.C. Po­lice Chief Peter New­sham told re­porters that author­i­ties were ready for any at­tempt to dis­rupt the fes­tiv­i­ties.

“The fact that you have some folks that are in­di­cat­ing on so­cial me­dia that they’re com­ing to shut down the in­au­gu­ra­tion events is some­thing that we will be pre­pared for,” New­sham said.

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