Police Use Pepper Spray, Tear Gas and Arrest Over 200 at Trump Inauguration Protest

January 21, 2017

Police in riot gear clashed with demonstrators in downtown Washington, DC shortly after Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony

Police in riot gear clashed with demonstrators in downtown Washington, DC shortly after Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony



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Story Transcript

CROWD: (chanting protestors)

THOMAS HEDGES: On Friday, tens of thousands of American protestors in the nation’s capital and across the country gathered to denounce Donald Trump’s Inauguration. In parts of downtown Washington, D.C., tensions boiled over and police dressed in riot gear used tear gas, concussion grenades and, at one point, even rubber bullets to disperse a group of protestors who resorted to kicking in windows and setting vehicles on fire.

As of Friday evening, more than 200 individuals had been arrested. But for the vast majority of people here in Washington, Friday was a day of peaceful resistance, meant to encourage solidarity in dissent as Trump is ushered into the nation’s highest office.

MAN: So, you can yell at us all day about illegal immigrants. That’s not going to bother us. ‘Cause we say, say it loud! (crowd chimes in) Say it clear! Immigrants are welcome here!

WOMAN: I mean, it’s most important to know that, you know, Trump does not have a mandate. I mean, less than 25% of the population voted for him. And so, really that does not speak for the majority of people. It definitely doesn’t speak for my community. It doesn’t speak for the folks, you know, that I grew up with, the folks where I came from, you know, an immigrant community, a refugee community. It’s not what we stand for and what we want. It’s not like it’s new but, you know, Trump is just kind of the incarnation, the face of racism. He’s the face of the system that we’ve all been struggling with our entire lives.

WOMAN(2): The President-elect has put the country in the early stages of fascism which is racist rhetoric, and is denigration of women, and the corruption, and the attempts to suppress the free press, and he’s encouraged violence against marginalized groups. Those are all the signs of fascism and the time to speak up is now.

MAN(2): There are people in this country right now who actually do feel scared. They actually do feel terrified, they feel afraid. That’s what terrorists do, they make you feel afraid. Like, they try and take away your rights to actually get your cause across, to actually tell you how they feel. They actually put fear into you. And if someone right now was telling me that, like, they didn’t really care about how I felt, and I could have my parts grabbed, if basically I was a female, if someone said that like me, being I’m black, my life really doesn’t matter, all lives matters — not really true. That sounds like terrorism to me.

WOMAN(2): He’s played exactly into the ISIS narrative. Their narrative is that America is anti-Muslim and now they’re saying, “See? We were right all along.” He’s played exactly into their narrative. He’s a big recruiting tool for ISIS. They’re very happy that he won.

WOMAN(3): We’re gravely concerned about who he has stacked his Cabinet with. We have David Friedman who has been nominated to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel. David Friedman is to the far-right of Netanyahu. He is, in fact, a funder of settlements and has promised to try to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, which is just an incitement to violence and endangers all of us. Numerous of Trump’s nominees have stated that they want to dismantle the Iran deal which is really the major foreign policy accomplishment that happened under Obama. Right here, this is The Future is Feminist blockade. It’s a contingent of J20 and they are blockading this entrance to the inauguration. And the point of that is to show that we do not accept Trump as a legitimate President.

CROWD: (chanting, yelling)

WOMAN: Yeah, it’s clear the Democratic Party has shown where it stands across the country. You know, Democratic Party leaders are standing with Trump and they’re standing for unity and they’re standing for things like, oh, you know what, let’s have a peaceful transition of power. I’m talking Michelle Obama, Barack Obama. We’re talking like highest echelons of Democratic Party elites. I mean, this is what they’re saying. So, if that’s what they’re saying, I can’t stand with that and nobody in this crowd can stand with that.

MAN(2): Honestly, I didn’t even vote for either, not Trump, not Hillary. I didn’t. I’m not a really big fan of someone telling me that I have to choose between the lesser of two evils. And I’m not really sure which evil really won this time around. I just want to make sure that it never happens ever again.

MAN(3): I think the Democratic Party is having a tough time at realizing its own faults. So, instead they’re talking a lot about Russia and Putin, and they’re really distracting from the real issues, which is their own program. You can’t both be representing working class people while you’re also claiming to represent Wall Street. You know, you can’t have the board — someone who’s on the board of Walmart also be the champion of Walmart workers. I think there’s a contradiction that goes on that the Democrats are unwilling or unable to see sometimes and I think this election was, in part, at least, a reaction to that, that they’re still not really having a good time dealing with.

Bernie Sanders has his problems but he’s, you know, out there trying to protect healthcare and do these things, and you have us out here putting massive rallies to oppose Trump as he’s being inaugurated. Hillary Clinton, as far as I understand, hasn’t even released a press statement. It’s kind of concerning that this is also someone who claimed to be a champion of the people, who’s nowhere to be seen and when, you know, working people and oppressed people around the country and around the world are nervous and scared, she’s not even there to fight back with us. So, I think that says a lot, her inaction and her silence.

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