If you're a fan of pomp and circumstance, you're going to love Inauguration Day. A new president will be sworn in, and the last president will say his final goodbyes as leader of the free world (hopefully making sure to get in a good nap and vacation afterward). It's a special time. Although this time around, you might want to expect a side dish of protests to go with the main course of pomp and circumstance. Because when Inauguration Day is upon us, some demonstrators are planning on making sure their voices are heard by the new Trump administration.
Republican president-elect Donald Trump, who won the White House on Nov. 8 in a surprising upset against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, is scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 20 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.. Local police are preparing for anti-Trump protesters to descend on the capital by the thousands; One protest group alone, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) has a Facebook page calling followers to "Protest at the Inauguration: Stand Against Trump, War, Racism and Inequality." So far the group has approximately 24,000 people interested in attending.
Since Trump won the election on Nov. 8, there have already been wide scale protests across the country, with high school students in several states staging a walk out on Monday in response to Trump's presidency.
As Trump goes about the arduous business of learning how to become the next Commander in Chief from President Obama (and let's just take a moment to acknowledge how awkward those meetings must be after Trump spent years trying to convince the American people Obama was not even American), the nation's capital is preparing for Inauguration Day. There are inaugural balls to prepare (at least two official balls organized by the Presidential Inaugural Committee with more unofficial balls being held throughout), an inaugural luncheon where Members of Congress toast the new president. And of course, the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the steps of the White House.
This year, the inaugural parade may look a little different if the Answer Coalition has anything to say about it; The protest group has been battling the National Park Service over the possible demonstration space available during the parade.
According to The Washington Times, the National Park Service has set aside the sidewalks in front of the White House and three quarters of LaFayette Park for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which in turn will sell tickets for bleacher-style seating along the route. The Answer Coalition have argued that this acts as an impediment to their right to freedom of speech, and they are appealing an earlier court ruling that found the set aside areas fell under the "government" umbrella and as such did not require the same sort of First Amendment scrutiny. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a lawyer representing the group, argued:
If the government wins court approval of this radical evisceration of First Amendment rights, you can expect that President Trump will be able to displace protest on public space at will simply by declaring that public fora like our sidewalks and parks are reserved for private organizations espousing a pro-government viewpoint. If they can do it on Pennsylvania Avenue — "America’s Main Street" — on Inauguration Day, they will do it everywhere they wish.
Whatever happens, Jan. 20 (Inauguration Day) is shaping up to be one for the history books.