WASHINGTON - Thousands of protesters are expected to descend to the nation's capital Friday in hopes of creating havoc and getting their voices heard as Donald Trump is sworn in as the next President of the United States. But unlike previous inaugurations, these protesters are being upfront and candid on what they intend to do.
Protesters with the group DisruptJ20 are ready to proceed with their plans to demonstrate during the inauguration, which may include some forms of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests.
"Very early in the morning, we will be physically and symbolically blockading the security checkpoints into the inauguration and the inaugural parade,” said Lilly Daigle of DisruptJ20. “We are having an unpermitted march starting at 10 a.m."
She added, “Each checkpoint action is being self-organized by an autonomous body of folks, so each group organizing those checkpoints have made those calls for themselves.”
Daigle said the protest group has listed a schedule of events on its website, “but a lot of the groups are keeping a lot of their tactics close to their chest.”
The security checkpoints are spread out around the National Mall and along the parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue. D.C. police will have civil disturbance units equipped with riot gear ready to move at a moment’s notice wherever trouble may pop up.
Some of the protesters are gathering at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church near 16th and Newton Streets in Northwest D.C. where they are taking part in training sessions on how to deal with the police. Daigle said they are not encouraging violence, but instead, the training sessions are teaching the demonstrators how to deescalate potential violent encounters with police and citizens who may not like what they stand for.
Daigle said she is expecting tens of thousands of protesters. DisruptJ20 has been planning the civil actions since May and also include groups that want Trump to know exactly how they feel about his presidency and the insults he has been hurling at them.
"I think you ask different people, you get different things,” she said. “The man has threatened the bodies and lives and safety of so many different populations across America, from our Muslim brothers and sisters, black and brown folks, queer folks, women. Basically anyone who is not a rich white man is under attack and we are ready to stand up for America.”