'Not My President!' Protesters Storm the Mall as Donald Trump Takes the Oath of Office
Amid the Inauguration weekend festivities across the capital, thousands were staging very public protests against the newly appointed 45th president, Donald Trump
At the moment Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on the Capitol steps on Friday, protesters along on the National Mall let loose with boos, others screamed, “Not my president!”
And the clouds opened, rain poured down and those Trump supporters and Washington dignitaries sitting in witness to Trump’s oath of office grabbed for their plastic ponchos.
Even as Trump spoke in his inaugural address of “one nation,” a woman carrying a large pink sign ran up to the massive inaugural podium on the Capitol steps and yelled, “Donald Trump is an illegitimate president!” She was quickly grabbed by security and rushed away.
Other attendees roared, “TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP” during Trump’s oath-taking to drown out the sounds of protest.
Meanwhile, thousands of others staged unbridled public protests against Trump in and around Washington, D.C., before, during and after he took his oath of office.
Reuters reported that some protests in Washington turned violent ahead of Trump’s inauguration. About 500 anti-Trump activists marched through the downtown area, some smashing store and car windows, hurling trash cans into the streets, and fighting with police in riot gear—who, in turn, unleashed pepper spray and stun grenades.
Some protesters wore masks and kerchiefs over their faces and carried signs, including one that read, “Make racists afraid again.”
Others took part in peaceful protests, including 35-year-old Jessica Reznicek, a Catholic aid worker from Des Moines, Iowa. She told Reuters: “The message I want to send is that Trump does not represent this country. He represents the corporate interests.”
Kiana Wilkerson, 20, from Williamsburg, Virginia, was among those protesting Trump just outside the inauguration.
She told PEOPLE, “I’m here to let Trump know that we’re resisting him and that he’s not good for our country. He’s taking us a step back for our rights.”
Another protester, Yiran Zhang, 22, from Chicago, shared with PEOPLE her message to President Trump: “Don’t forget about treating people like people. Remember that women are people. Remember that Muslims are people. Remember that black people are people. Remember that minorities, marginalized people, LGBTQIA people are people. All of these groups who have been certainly marginalized are people and it’s your job to protect them.”
Ahead of Friday, tens of thousands were expected in the city, according to NBC News. On Tuesday, the National Park Service told NBC that 22 permits for First Amendment events on park service land had been provided. This land includes both the White House and the National Mall.
These registered groups range in size from 50 people to 200,000 participants. Only protests over 25 people must have a permit, though.
Mike Litterst, a public affairs officer of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, further told NBC that in years past, only around six applications for protest permits were received for inauguration weeks.
Announced inauguration day protests included an Act Now to Stop War & End Racism Coalition #InauguratetheResistance mass protest at the Navy Memorial, which started at 7 a.m.
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Beginning at 10 a.m., participants are expected to march down the intersection of Independence Avenue and 3rd Street.
Officials said in a statement, “The Women’s March on Washington aims to send a message to all levels of government and the incoming Presidential administration, that we stand together in solidarity and expect elected leaders to act to protect the rights of women, their families and their communities.”