Protest Trump Inaugural.....

U.S. protest group vows to disrupt Trump inaugural festivities

Leaders of an ad hoc group of protesters enraged by Republican Donald Trump's election as president of the United States vowed on Wednesday to disrupt his inauguration this week by blocking public access to the event.

The DisruptJ20 protest group said it will send groups of demonstrators to the dozen entrances to the grassy National Mall where hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather to watch Trump, who has never before held public office, be sworn in as president on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Friday.

"We believe that it's our role and the role of any people with conscience to try to disrupt this inauguration and have a massive showing of resistance on that day," Samantha Miller, a DisruptJ20 organizer, said at a news conference.

The U.S. Secret Service and Washington police are expecting some 900,000 people to pack into the area between the Capitol and White House on Friday to view the swearing-in and will have thousands of uniformed officers on site.

Trump has angered many on the left with demeaning comments about women, immigrants and Muslims, a vow to repeal the sweeping healthcare reform law known as "Obamacare" and plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

His supporters admire Trump's experience in business, including as a real estate developer and reality television star, and view him as a brash problem-solver.

Miller said DisruptJ20 will be sending groups of about 100 protesters to block each of the dozen security checkpoints for people entering the inaugural festivities.

"There will definitely be interactions with law enforcement that day, no doubt," Miller said.

Washington's Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment on the group's plans.

"We support everyone's First Amendment right to peaceably protest," a spokeswoman said in an email, referring to the amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects the right to free expression.

About 3 square miles (nearly 8 square km) of central Washington will be in a security cordon that will include roadblocks, street barricades and about 3,000 extra police, federal officers and 5,000 National Guard troops.

The inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue will pass the Trump International Hotel, a rallying point for protesters since the election.

A man set himself on fire late on Tuesday outside the hotel, in what he told NBC 4 television was an anti-Trump protest. Police said he was taken to a hospital for treatment and had no details on his condition.



Trump Protest To Be Held In Columbus Circle On Eve Of Inauguration

A rally will be held in New York City Thursday to protest the policies of President-elect Donald Trump on the eve of his inauguration.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, other politicians and community leaders are expected to attend along with an assortment of celebrities and advocacy groups. They’ll gather outside the Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle.

“Let’s send Donald Trump off to DC w/ a message that we’re going to protect the values that make NYC great,” de Blasio said on Twitter Wednesday



Fortress Washington girds for days of anti-Trump protests

Washington will turn into a virtual fortress ahead of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration on Friday as the U.S. capital braces for more than a quarter-million protesters expected during the Republican's swearing-in.

Police have forecast that some 900,000 people, both supporters and opponents, will flood Washington for the inauguration ceremony, which includes the swearing-in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and a parade to the White House along streets thronged with spectators.

Many of those attending will be protesters irate about the New York real estate developer's demeaning comments about women, immigrants and Muslims, a vow to repeal the sweeping healthcare reform law known as Obamacare and plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

His supporters admire Trump's experience in business, including as a real estate developer and reality television star, and view him as an outsider and problem-solver.

Outgoing U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said police aim to separate groups to diffuse tensions, similar to last-year's political conventions.

"The concern is some of these groups are pro-Trump, some of them are con-Trump, and they may not play well together in the same space," Johnson said on MSNBC on Thursday.

About 28,000 security personnel, miles (kilometers) of fencing, roadblocks, street barricades and dump trucks laden with sand will be part of the security cordon around 3 square miles (almost 8 square km) of central Washington.

About 30 groups that organizers claim will draw about 270,000 protesters or Trump backers have received permits for rallies or marches before, during and after the swearing-in. More protests are expected without permits.

A protest group known as Disrupt J20 has vowed to stage demonstrations at each of 12 security checkpoints and block access to the festivities on the grassy National Mall.


By far the biggest protest will be the Women's March on Washington on Saturday, which organizers expect to draw 250,000 people. Hundreds of Women's March-related protests are scheduled across the United States and around the world as well.

There will be an anti-Trump protest in New York on Thursday evening when Mayor Bill de Blasio, filmmaker Michael Moore and actors Mark Ruffalo and Alec Baldwin, who portrays Trump on "Saturday Night Live," take part in a rally outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

One Washington protest will come amid a haze of pot smoke as pro-marijuana activists show their opposition to Trump's choice for attorney general, Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, a critic of pot legalization.

The group plans to distribute 4,200 joints at the inauguration and urge attendees to light up. Possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal in Washington but public consumption is not.

Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said officers were prepared for mass arrests, although authorities hoped that would be unnecessary.

"If we do have a mass arrest, we'll be able to get people processed very quickly," he told Washington's NBC 4 television station.

Police and security officials have pledged to guarantee protesters' constitutional rights to free speech and peaceable assembly.

Friday's crowds are expected to be less than the 2 million who attended Obama's first inauguration in 2009, and in line with the million who were at his second, four years ago.

The inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue will pass the Trump International Hotel, a rallying point for protesters since the election now encircled by security fences.

In a sign of the Trump-related angst gripping Washington, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral said this week its choir would sing "God Bless America" at the inauguration despite misgivings by some members.

"Let me be clear: We are not singing for the President. We are singing for God because that is what church choirs do," the Reverend Randolph Marshall Hollerith said in a letter.

Trump will attend an interfaith prayer service at the cathedral on Saturday, closing out the inaugural ceremonies.



Discontent in DC: Lawmakers, citizens protest Trump inauguration as celebrations begin

Hundreds of thousands of women are preparing for the Women's March on Washington Saturday, including many from Chicago, and lawmakers are joining everyday citizens in their protest by skipping Trump's inauguration.


As a Pilates instructor, Melissa McNamara enjoys helping her clients improve their physical fitness. But she also has a longstanding interest in politics, even acting with political theater troupes. That's why she wanted to be a part of the Women's March on Washington.

"I want to feel the energy of that many people coming together. Women, and also people fighting for women's rights," she said.

She will head to D.C. on a bus leaving from the South Side, a trip made possible with funding she applied for as a small business owner. Several women pooled resources to pay the travel expenses for those who are politically active and want to go to the march, but can't afford it.

"They created a GoFundMe and they are sending over 100 women to D.C. on these buses," McNamara said.

Corrie Wallace, a diversity inclusion educator from northwest suburban Skokie will also attend the march, and is looking forward to being party of a diverse group fighting for women's rights and other issues.

"It's really important to protect our right to control our own bodies. Whether it's contraception or whatever you do with your own body, that's no one's decision but a woman's," she said.

Wallace will be at the march with her husband, two sons and a daughter. The family made the trip eight years ago to see the inauguration of President Obama. She said this time around there's more of an urgent atmosphere and hopes the march will make a real and long-lasting impact.

"I hope so. I think it's important to keep hope very much present regardless of what's going on. And I think if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything," Wallace said.
Men are welcome at the march, which is expected to bring together more than 100 different interest groups. Sister marches are also planned in all 50 states, including in Chicago, on Saturday morning.


Dozens of Democratic politicians, including some from Illinois, are boycotting the inauguration of Donald Trump.

As the nation's capital gears up for Friday's ceremony, a growing number of Democratic congressmen and -women are boycotting the event, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky. The Evanston lawmaker said her diverse constituency helped her make the decisions.

"I literally received thousands of phone calls as I was deliberating on whether or not to go or not go," she said.

Many are skipping the inauguration as a protest to his agenda and/or his treatment of Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis.

"Donald Trump has shown himself to be someone who clearly does not take well to criticism, and this is a clear rebuke of his incoming authority as president of the United States," said Ben Epstein, professor of political science at DePaul University.

Epstein said it is not unusual for members of Congress to skip an inauguration - 80 to 100 lawmakers do it every four years for various reasons - but said avoiding it out of protest is unusual. The last time it happened in large numbers was 1973.

South Side congressman Bobby Rush said he would attend Trump's inauguration if his wife wasn't seriously ill in the hospital. Rush said while he doesn't agree with Trump on most issues, he is hoping as president he will help combat issues like poverty and violence on the South Side.

"I'm looking for something greater than just vindictiveness or vengeance. I'm looking for progress and help," Rush said.

Schakowsky does not think the inaugural protest is a signal that Democrats won't work with Trump.

"We're not saying a blanket no, but we are saying no to bigotry, to discrimination," she said.

Joining the protest with Rep. Schakowsky is Chicago congressman Luis Gutierrez. North Side lawmaker Mike Quigly is not attending either, but said work in his district is keeping him home.

There are no senators boycotting the event.


Wednesday evening, Trump made a quick stop in Washington for a pair of inaugural week events. He returns to New York Wednesday night and will fly back to DC Thursday to prepare for Friday's inauguration.

Around the capital, celebrations are in full swing.

"These are the Republicans coming to celebrate," said Adam Kinzinger.

Illinois republicans attended a welcome reception for supporters and donors, many with official tickets to the inauguration.

"I've never been to an inauguration. I'm so excited, looking forward to all the events and the excitement of Donald Trump," said Nora Koos of Palos Park.

One hundred sixty 8th graders from Crystal Lake flew to Washington Wednesday morning. Their teachers said this is unique political time is a rich lesson in civics.

"It's allowed for a lot of conversation to happen, deep and meaningful conversations about our political climate," said Lauren Dominici, teacher.

The political climate is cool when it comes to House Democrats; 60 of them are now boycotting the inauguration. National Republican Committeeman Richard Porter thinks the boycotters are poor sports.

"This is recognizing a key feature of the democratic system, which is the peaceful transition of power and the respect for the people that chose your opponent," he said.

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