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Heavy Security As Washington Prepares For Massive Inaugural Protests

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Heavy Security As Washington Prepares For Massive Inaugural Protests

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WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Washington turned into a virtual fortress on Thursday ahead of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, while thousands of people took to the streets of New York to express their displeasure with his coming administration.

Some 900,000 people, both Trump backers and opponents, are expected to flood Washington for Friday’s inauguration ceremony, according to organizers’ estimates. Events include the swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and a parade to the White House along streets thronged with spectators.

The number of planned protests and rallies this year is far above what has been typical at recent presidential inaugurations, with some 30 permits granted in Washington for anti-Trump rallies and sympathy protests planned in cities from Boston to Los Angeles, and abroad in cities including London and Sydney.

The night before the inauguration, thousands of people turned out in New York for a rally at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, and then marched a few blocks from the Trump Tower where the businessman lives.

The rally featured a lineup of politicians, activists and celebrities including Mayor Bill de Blasio and actor Alec Baldwin, who trotted out the Trump parody he performs on “Saturday Night Live.”

“Donald Trump may control Washington, but we control our destiny as Americans,” de Blasio said. “We don’t fear the future. We think the future is bright, if the people’s voices are heard.”

In Washington, police cars lined much of Pennsylvania Avenue, the parade route, as workers unloaded crowd control fences from flatbed trucks, erected barricades and marked off pavement with tape.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said police aimed to keep groups separate, using tactics similar to those employed during 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.

Trump opponents have been angered by his comments during the campaign about women, illegal immigrants and Muslims and his pledges to scrap the Obamacare health reform and build a wall on the Mexican border.

The Republican’s supporters admire his experience in business, including as a real estate developer and reality television star, and view him as an outsider who will take a fresh approach to politics.

Bikers for Trump, a group that designated itself as security backup during last summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, is ready to step in if protesters block access to the inauguration, said Dennis Egbert, one of the group’s organizers.

“We’re going to be backing up law enforcement. We’re on the same page,” Egbert, 63, a retired electrician from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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

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.

Police and security officials have pledged repeatedly to guarantee protesters’ constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful assembly.

Aaron Hyman, fellow at the National Gallery of Art, said he could feel tension in the streets ahead of Trump’s swearing-in and the heightened security was part of it.

“People are watching each other like, ‘You must be a Trump supporter,’ and ‘You must be one of those liberals’,” said Hyman, 32, who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election.

Friday’s crowds are expected to fall well short of the 2 million people who attended Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, and be in line with the 1 million who were at his second in 2013.

Forecast rain may also dampen the turnout, though security officials lifted an earlier ban on umbrellas, saying small umbrellas would be permitted.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu in Washigton, and Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Scott Malone, James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker)

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17 Comments

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 19, 2017

    Pro-Trump supporters laud his business skills, his TV Reality Shtick, his “fresh approach”, being an “outsider”—What a trivial and shallow set of factors to concentrate on for a President. Which all points to the generality of Americans being easily impressed by glitz, slogans, gimmicks, hot air, and fiery rhetoric.
    “Fresh Approach”—Really? Is the approach of denigrating entire groups of people fresh?
    Many in America have been doing this since the founding of America by English Settlers, the KKK and similar groups have been doing this for decades with tragic results.
    “Business skills”? Since when did Governance become a business?
    “Entertainment Quality”? Is being a TV star on a chump Reality Game Show a plus for being considered a leader of a major country on the planet, or being able to turn colors when bellowing with rage an arbiter of being a President?
    An “Outsider”—“Joe the Plumber” is an outsider; the drunk in the alley is an outsider. Trump has his fingers in so many deals, is so involved with big business, Real Estate/Financial magnates, and influential people in Russia and elsewhere, that it’s ludicrous to call him and “outsider”.

    America has been hijacked by people with such low standards that Howdy Doody or Mickey Mouse might qualify for President. And Trump is taking full advantage of such people who have little regard for integrity and nobility, and for whom the main attraction each day is to wake up, eat, walk the dog, rant about not being able to adapt to change, watch TV, then back to bed. A profound trance has overtaken many in America, like some hypnotic spell of mass ennui.

    Reply
    1. bobnstuff January 20, 2017

      You forgot drink a six pack and beat their wives.

      1. tbs January 20, 2017

        Proof please?

        1. bobnstuff January 20, 2017

          Well we know that to support Trump you must not respect women and most of his supporters are angry. He also doesn’t seem to attract the wine and cheese crowed.

    2. tbs January 20, 2017

      Are you referring to the snowflakes who are protesting this new Presidency?
      Because the Snowflakes are the real Howdy Doody, Mickey Mouses, low and miss inform, rioters who destroy property/people, the spoiled 3 year olds who can’t have their way, promote all the spin garbage, make up lies So they look good and spead it to brainwash other people? You lost get use to it and try and have some manners and dignity if you have any at all?
      Also they get paid and abet the scum criminal George Soros! You call that class??? Boy you sure are lost!

      1. Eleanore Whitaker January 20, 2017

        No we are referring to the morons who now like to think you can steal our tax dollars to support your lazy butts and allow The Baron of BS to get away with anythign he likes. How much does The Titan of Trickery pay you TBS? Are you even an American or are you one of the Titan’s Russian emissaries? You are like so many right wing big mouths…YOu love to dig into everyone else’s business but hide your own dirty filthy reputations. Not anymore. Be warned…Big SISTER is watching and will out your name and who you really are. That IS the plan to shut your mouths and to stop your idiotic idea that YOU are sooooo powerful. The only power you have to passing your morning bowel movements.

      2. bobnstuff January 20, 2017

        If you want to see brain washed look in the mirror. You have been suckered and don’t even know it. Trump is our new president, we are stuck with him and can only pray he doesn’t blowup the world or destroy our economy, both are possible with his plans for his presidency. Just look at some of his job picks. A man who wanted to get rid of the department he is now going to run that has a degree in animal husbandry will be in charge of our Nukes. A MD will run the department of housing and a women who is anti public education to run the department of education. If we survive the next six months we will be lucky.

      3. Dan S January 20, 2017

        Damn tbs how long are you alters going to trot out the lame snowflake line ? May I remind you that a few snowflakes are insignificant but what’s coming are millions of snowflakes which is better known as a blizzard and we will bury all of you. Borrowing the tag line from Game of Thrones “Winter is Coming” ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

        1. roguerunners January 20, 2017

          And after the blizzard, the avalanche.

  2. Eleanore Whitaker January 20, 2017

    Trump is a liar. He knows as a CEO all he has to do is say what his employees want to hear. But, and here is where it all goes wrong. WE ARE NOT his employees. We are his employers.

    His big problems are that he is a lazy bum who loves to delegate to others all the dirty work. This includes racists like Sessions and Bannon, his Javanka team (Jared and Ivanka) who have NO experience in government or foreign policy other than ripping off cheap labor countries with their bogus business contracts.

    He is not my president and he never will be. I do not vote for slimeballs who lie, cheat, steal and worst of all game the election like he does his casino gaming tables.

    So the righties think it’s just dandy that the Trump Name is now going to bring him billions more. Shows you why these morons need to be the first ones who put on boats and ship off to Siberia’s coal mines.

    Reply
  3. itsfun January 20, 2017

    I am hoping for a peaceful change of power today. That has been a hallmark of our type of government ever since we have been a country. Everyone has the right to peaceful protest. I hope the protesters don’t block walkways and streets. I saw on the news this morning some eggs have been thrown already. This behavior is not acceptable in our nation. If there is violence it will just prove we are becoming a third world nation.

    Reply
    1. CPAinNewYork January 20, 2017

      Peaceful is our hallmark? Don’t you know that Lincoln had to be sneaked through Baltimore, a city controlled by Confederate sympathizers, on his way to Washington for his inauguration?

      1. itsfun January 20, 2017

        I didn’t realize we are in a civil war.

        1. The lucky one January 20, 2017

          We are very close to it if not there already. Of course this is not Trump’s fault alone or even primarily but his pandering to hate is bringing it to a head. maybe that is good in the long run but i predict some very uncomfortable times for the patient as the healing crisis runs its course.

          1. itsfun January 20, 2017

            There is so much hate on both sides now, it is scary. I have said all along that no matter who won the election, we were in for 4 tough years. Much of left hates Trump and much of the right hates Hillary. The haters on both sides are not going to compromise on anything. The haters on the left won’t accept President Trump and the haters on the right would not have accepted a President Hillary Clinton. We probably need a period of healing more than a wall or new healthcare law, but that won’t happen. Trying to embarrass the new cabinet members in the committee hearings is not helping anything either. I don’t want to see it, but I won’t be surprised if the Republicans use the new rules and confirm the cabinet members with a simple majority. I won’t be surprised to see the nuclear option used for a new healthcare law or building a wall. Congress is already in a civil war of party preferences.

          2. The lucky one January 20, 2017

            “Much of left hates Trump and much of the right hates Hillary.” Yes and some of the right hates Trump and some of the left hates Clinton. Not that Clinton hating means anything now.

            “We probably need a period of healing more than a wall or new healthcare law, but that won’t happen.” No question.

            ” Trying to embarrass the new cabinet members in the committee hearings is not helping anything either.” I agree that fighting each and everyone is pointless but some of the picks should be embarrassing to Trump, such as Tillerson and DeVos.

    2. ivory69690@yahoo.com January 20, 2017

      DONNY DUMPS behavior is not and should never be so acceptable in our country and nation ! and you text of violence how about how violence the DUMPSTER did to his wife ? beating raping her and ripping patches of hair out of her head ! and how do her children feel about what their father did to their mother ? thy don’t care thy have been brain washed and the GREEDY seed the POS DONNY DUMP planted it in them makes them blind to every thing but greed and money

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