Demonstrators Gather In Washington, D.C., To Protest Trump's Inauguration
KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
There are many groups here in Washington protesting President Trump's inauguration. Some were on the National Mall during his swearing-in ceremony, holding signs with slogans like, not my president. Other people demonstrated downtown.
In one part of the city, a group of people smashed windows and set fires. Protesters there are facing off with police officers who have responded with pepper spray.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #1: (Chanting, unintelligible).
MCEVERS: Police say more than 90 people have been arrested across the city. In the rest of the city, demonstrations were mostly peaceful. I went out this morning to talk to protesters and ask them why they came out.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #2: (Chanting) Got to go - hey, hey, ho, ho - Donald Trump has got to go.
MCEVERS: OK, so we are at First and D Street. We're just, like, a couple blocks away from the Mall - looks like it's the approach to one of the entrances. You've got people who look like Trump supporters sort of in line. You can tell because they're wearing the red make-America-great-again hats. And then sort of walking up and down the street next to them are protesters.
BRADEN DAUER: My name's Braden Dauer.
MCEVERS: How old are you, if you don't mind me asking?
DAUER: I am 30.
MCEVERS: So what does your sign say?
DAUER: My sign says, the American dream is something no wall will ever contain. It's a quote from Barack Obama, and it meant a lot to me. I thought it was a powerful quote. And, you know, I think the wall is not going to be an effective deterrent to keep people out, but it undermines the very idea of the American dream.
Republicans listening, they might be thinking that all these protesters are protesting the inauguration and protesting, that they're just whiners. My answer to that is, you know, I'm not here to whine. I understand that he won, but I don't think he's done anything to deserve a celebration as of yet. I don't think that he's a good man.
MCEVERS: What about after today? What plans - you know, volunteer, organize, run for local office - you know, what kind of plans do you have in terms of opposing Trump?
DAUER: I don't really know how things are going to go. Maybe Trump will be a good president.
MICHAEL CALLIS: My name is Michael Callis. I'm from New Hampshire - Conway, N.H. You know, I'm a Republican. The problem is that he lies. He didn't win in a landslide. He won in a mudslide.
MCEVERS: What's your sign say there?
CALLIS: It says January 20, Trump lies. That's why I'm here. I drove 12 hours to do this. And when I go back to New Hampshire, there's going to be a lot of people that are grateful that I came down here to do this because they're very upset. They're scared, you know, of what Trump is up to because he just doesn't tell the truth.
MCEVERS: I see you walking up and down, showing this, you know, thing that says Trump lies to a lot of people who are waiting in line, people wearing things supporting Donald Trump. I mean, are you trying to have conversations?
CALLIS: Oh, yeah, come on. They're giving me the nod. They know he lies.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #3: (Chanting) Donald Trump has got to go.
MCEVERS: All right, so we're standing on top of these stairs right here. This was supposed to be an entrance for people who have tickets to get into the ticketed area to go in for the inauguration festivities.
However, a group of protesters mostly led by Black Lives Matter protesters have basically formed a sort of a human wall around this entrance and tried to close it down.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #4: (Chanting, unintelligible).
MARTHA NEUMAN: My name is Martha Neuman, and I'm from Boston.
MCEVERS: What about you?
ANIQA RAIHAN: Aniqa Raihan. I'm a local D.C. organizer.
MCEVERS: Tell us why you're here.
NEUMAN: We're Palestinian solidarity and human rights organizers. We're here to oppose Trump's racist and bigoted agenda, specifically around the issue of Israel and Palestine. We're here specifically at this location because Black Lives Matter has asked for backup. And they successfully blockaded it so that nobody can enter inauguration through this checkpoint.
MCEVERS: So people listening who aren't from D.C., who aren't protesters - the question they would ask is, why block an entrance to a thing that people are going to get to anyway?
NEUMAN: For us, this is an extraordinarily symbolic and powerful movement of resistance. We will put our bodies in the way because we believe so strongly in justice.
MCEVERS: What after the protest? Where does that go?
NEUMAN: It shouldn't end here, and it won't end here. Trump's policies are real. There's a lot of really problematic legislation coming up, but we have to keep fighting - if nothing else, for hope.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #5: (Chanting) Human rights are under attack. What do we do? Stand up. Fight back.
MCEVERS: Yeah, it sounds like they're cheering because the police just said that this gate is closed.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #5: (Chanting) We love you. We love you.
MCEVERS: And now they're chanting, we love you.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #5: (Chanting) We love you.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Chanting) Hey, hey, hey, no fascist U.S.A.
MCEVERS: Protesters earlier today here in Washington where Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.