Isabel O’Connor, Co-editor of Student Life
On the day reserved for a peaceful transition of power, quite the opposite occurred in and out of Washington, D.C. As high government officials, houses of senate, and former presidents and their spouses listened to Trump swear into presidency, cries from the protests below echoed in their ears. 217 protestors were arrested and 6 police officers had minor injuries. Protests took place not only in several major cities of the U.S., but in Hong Kong, Berlin, and London, as well.
The majority of protests fulfilled their promise of peace. However, relatively few exceptional individuals brought harm to the businesses and people of Washington D.C. Around 10:30 am, angry protestors began to cause mischief by smashing storefront windows and setting fire to a limousine on 13th street (CBS news). Later in the day, more violence broke out on 12th street and the corner of K and L streets. To separate the massive crowds, police threw smoke and flash-bang devices, that frightened the demonstrators. Pepper spray was also used to stop the protestors from advancing. Incidentally, Videos and pictures were uploaded to social media of fellow protestors helping each other clean their eyes with water from the smoke and pepper sprays.
Demonstrators who opposed this method of disruption were upset by the violent actions. One man screamed, “We are so much better than this! We are [expletive deleted] educated people who do not need to break [expletive deleted]! We want them to listen to us!” as seen in @GregJKrieg’s twitter video. Protest Groups, determined to make their message heard, were offended that individuals would initiate violence and risk their legitimacy to the government.
The day was certainly made difficult for Trump supporters as well. The interlopers blocked many entry points with coordinated sit-ins, and others had a message to display. One group dressed in orange jumpsuits, with black hoods covering their faces, to represent prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. 6 Protestors purchased tickets, each wearing a letter to spell out “RESIST,” and shouted a preamble to the U.S. constitution (CNN) as Trump recited the presidential oath. These words were much clearer for Trump to hear himself.
However, Trump was not phased by the demonstrations. He completed the ceremony quite smoothly and presented his somewhat (but not surprising) offensive presidential speech. The speech was a direct attack on the government, ignoring many of its members sitting close behind him. He included some positive points, such as the great American community, but was steadfast in the theme of our tarnished economy. He left the crowd with the promise of a more strong, wealthy, and proud America.
Speaking of the crowd, a noticeable difference was documented in many pictures of the National Mall taken on January 20, 2017. In comparison to Obama’s 2009 inauguration, much fewer people joined the crowd in support of America’s 45th president this year. WMATA, the Washington area transit authority, also noted a decrease in metro passengers cataloged by 11 am on that day.
The protests will not stop, either. In fact, a planned Women’s march was held all around the nation in demand for Women’s Rights the very next day. After all, our ambition and revolutionary mindset is what America was founded on. Ideally, one day we can unite together in a method of peace to make our voices heard.