Inauguration Day 2017: Protesters Close D.C. Checkpoints, Portland Businesses Close Early
Inauguration Day 2017 is being marked by protests in the capitol, and in Portland, Oregon, which saw days of rioting after the election, Nordstrom and Starbucks stores in the city center area are closing early after the inauguration for safety concerns. The protests are not limited to the United States, as protests have occurred in the United Kingdom and the Phillippines as well. However, inauguration day protests in the U. S. Capitol have directly affected events there.
At one checkpoint, Black Lives Matter protesters chained themselves to an entrance to John Marshall Park, forcing inauguration attendees to go to a different entrance. Other checkpoints saw protesters attempting to block them, with one inauguration protest group dressed in pink protesting Trump and alleging he is racist. The group, predominately composed of young women, chanted “end white supremacy.”
Protests outside the “Deploraball” led to police pepper spraying some in the crowd. That group set fire to a trump hat, and also brought an inflatable elephant that had a banner on it that read “racism.” Officials in Washington are expecting a tense period following the inauguration day festivities. One inauguration day protester, Clara Mystif, a writer from Florida, said that her reason for being there was to protest outside of online social discussions.
“It’s not enough to continue shouting into the echo chamber of social media. We’re here to actually put our bodies on the line in support of our friends who are going to be targeted by this regime.”
Law enforcement agencies in Washington are preparing for even more demonstrations as the day moves forward after the inauguration ceremony. Disrupt J20, an activist group that plans to mobilize 30,000 protesters to be in Washington. The group’s stated goal is to create “a series of massive direct actions that will shut down the Inauguration ceremonies and any related celebrations.”
In Portland, Oregon, which experienced days of rioting after Donald Trump’s election victory, the mood is one of serious concern for residents’ safety. Both the Nordstrom, and Starbucks shops next to Pioneer Courthouse Square will be closing early on inauguration day. While many other businesses will be keeping normal hours, some may yet announce early closures.
In November, protesters in Portland were joined by people calling themselves anarchists. Those protests devolved into riots that caused extensive property damage to both businesses and residents’ personal property. Those rioters smashed windows and damaged cars, as well as setting fires across the downtown area.
Many of the inauguration day protests are being organized by the same people who led the election night protests. Kat Stevens, who is organizing one protest group, says that protesters should be supplied for the event, including advising inauguration day protesters to bring extra water to wash pepper spray out of their eyes. Stevens also includes a list of inauguration day protest supplies, designed to cope with law enforcement as well as to keep protesters safe.
But there are even divisions among the inauguration protesters. The Women’s March on Portland was nearly torn apart after protesters had felt the original organizer of the protest did not give enough voice to people of color, immigrants, and trans activists. The original organizer requested to remain anonymous, fearing retaliation from white supremacist groups in Eastern Oregon where she lives.
The NAACP pulled its support from the protest march because previous organizers did not address racial discrimination, the proposed Muslim registry, and the plight of immigrants. Many believe that the inauguration day protests will shine a light on racism, and promote a better national dialogue about race after the election. The march is scheduled for Saturday, one day after the inauguration.
[Featured Image by Jose Luis Magana/AP Images]