A few hours away before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, authorities at Washington D.C. reinforced its security after anti-Trump groups took the streets of the Capital to demonstrate their protest against the upcoming administration.
According to inauguration organizers, nearly 900,000 people, coming from pro and anti-Trump groups, are expected to attend the inauguration ceremony. The event would include Trump’s oath-swearing ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and the inaugural parade to the White House.
At least 28,000 security personnel along with dozens of roadblocks, street barricades and dump trucks filled with sand are deployed in Washington to control the crowd and maintain peace.
The night before the inauguration, police used pepper spray on some violent protesters in front of the National Press Club in Washington where a “DeploraBall” event was being held to support the upcoming administration. A video footage of the incident is now circulating social media.
Meanwhile, protesters stormed the streets of New York, including a rally at the Trump International Hotel and the Trump Tower.
Mayor Bill de Blasio along with democratic politicians, activist groups, and some celebrities like Alec Baldwin, who parodied Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” attended and performed at the rally in New York.
“Donald Trump may control Washington, but we control our destiny as Americans,” de Blasio told Reuters. “We don’t fear the future. We think the future is bright, if the people’s voices are heard.”
To maintain peace, the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ordered the police to separate pro and anti-Trump groups to avoid confrontation.
“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 told MSNBC.
Trump’s comments regarding women, his views on illegal immigration and Muslims have earned him many opponents. He also vowed to scrap Obamacare which angered many democrats.
However, his supporters back him because of his extensive experience in business and strong views to bring America back to its glory days.
Some extremist groups also expressed their intention to violently disrupt the inauguration. An anti-Trump group known as DisruptJ20 has vowed to protest in all 12 security checkpoints and roadblocks going to the National Mall. A few days ago a video footage was released showing Disrupt J20 planning their protest which includes throwing harmful chemicals at some inauguration attendees.
Despite the violent threats by protesters, security personnel pledged to uphold the protester’s constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful assembly.
Protest and rallies in this year’s inauguration are far above the previous presidential inauguration event. Washington D.C. granted 30 permits to anti-Trump groups and sympathy protesters, while thousands of protests are also expected to take place across the country, not to mention the planned protest outside the country including the cities of Sydney and London.