Almost two months after a wave of spontaneous protests greeted the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States, another nationwide round of protests begins on Friday to coincide with his inauguration.
While the protests in the weeks following the Nov. 8 election were largely spontaneous, dozens of groups have spent the last 10 weeks organizing hundreds of protest actions around the country to mark the official beginning of the Trump administration and the unofficial beginning of nationwide resistance to his reactionary policies.
Officials estimate almost 1 million people have arrived in Washington, D.C. over the week in preparation for Friday’s inauguration. Inauguration organizers say 3000 police officers and 5000 national guard troops have been deployed in anticipation of massive protests planned for the next two days in the nation’s capital.
Protests began on Wednesday evening with an LGBTQ dance party protest in front of Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s house in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Chevy Chase. In New York City on the same night, a man attempted to set himself on fire outside of the Trump Tower, telling reporters that Trump was “completely incapable respecting the constitution of the United States.”
On Thursday night police tear gassed a protest outside of the National Press Gallery which was hosting a DeploraBall event featuring prominent white nationalist and men’s rights activist supporters of the incoming president. Organized by the group Refuse Fascism, the activists projected messages such as “Impeach the Predatory President” on the building before being attacked by a heavy police presence.
In New York City on Thursday thousands gathered for a rally at the Trump Tower featuring New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Robert De Niro, Cher and many other Hollywood stars.
While hundreds of marches are planned across the U.S. for Friday and Saturday, the largest are expected in Washington, D.C.
The ANSWER coalition, under the hashtag #InaugurateTheResistance, is organizing a rally at the U.S. Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Ave, starting at 9 a.m. where they expect up to 50, 000.
“We’re considering it the counter-inauguration,” said Ben Becker, an organizer for the group whose acronym stands for Act Now to Stop War and Eliminate Racism. Speaking to the Washington Post he added, “The main message is that there is going to be a grassroots movement of resistance of the Trump agenda from day one of his presidency.”
DisruptJ20, also known as the D.C. Counter-Inaugural Welcoming Committee, has organized a “Festival of Resistance” beginning at 9 a.m. at MacPherson Square. From there a “family friendly march” will proceed to the National Mall where the official inauguration will take place at 12 noon.
In addition to the march, DisruptJ20 has pledged “massive direct actions” which they hope will “shut down the inauguration.” These actions include both an unpermitted Anticapitalist Bloc march, as well as 12 “security checkpoints” where pedestrians traveling to the official ceremony will have to pass through site-specific actions drawing attention to issues such as racial justice, migrant rights, war and militarism, and LGBTQ rights, among others.
“The goal is to give expression to the massive opposition to Trump’s right-wing, racist, and misogynist agenda,” said organizers in a press release. “We intend to demonstrate that people of conscience are the majority, and take steps towards organizing that sentiment into a force that can have an impact on Trump’s ability to claim a mandate, setting a tone of resistance for the coming years.”
Occupy the Inauguration, a coalition which includes Code Pink, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Socialist Alternative, and Occupy Wall Street, has a major rally planned for Malcolm X Park starting at 12 noon. Their two days of counter-inauguration events include speeches by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein, Standing Rock Camp organizer Dallas Goldtooth, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza.
“From day one of the new administration, our movement will need to unite to fight to advance the revolution,” the coalition said in a press release. “The goal of this action is to build a new, independent coalition movement for the 99% that stands outside the stranglehold duopoly of the GOP and DNC.”
The group DCMJ, which ran a successful campaign in 2015 to decriminalize marijuana in the District of Columbia, is planning on distributing 4,200 free joints in an effort to “stink up” the swearing-in ceremony.
The group Ungovernable 2017 has announced 28 anti-Trump actions will take place in cities across the country on Friday, under a pledge to “create a resistance movement that makes Trump unable to govern our oppression.”
The largest of all the planned counter-inaugural events will take place on Saturday with the massive Women’s March on Washington, which is expecting almost 200,000 people from across the country to descend on the city and inaugurate a new era of intersectional resistance. Organizers said that over 600 “sister marches” are planned around the globe with an estimated 1.3 million people expected to take part.