With just weeks to go before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, opponents of the billionaire and his platform are setting the stage for protests in DC and major cities across the country.
Michael Moore is spearheading the #DisruptJ20 campaign, which tells opponents of the inauguration to spend January 20th with like-minded individuals in McPherson Square in Washington, DC. McPherson Square is a small park, about one block of green space, located just a few minutes away from the White House.
This is not a peaceful demonstration. Organizers will facilitate attendees working together “to shut down the ceremonies. We must take to the streets and shut down, protest, blockade, disrupt, intervene, sit in, walk out, rise up, and make more noise and good trouble than the establishment can bear. The parade must be stopped.”
If this happens as planned, the District will likely see arrests on a large scale. The protests will increase the police presence needed, and, not to mention, it will present a headache for the Secret Service at a time when security concerns are already high.
Among the #DisruptJ20 group’s stated goals, their top priority is “using a range of tactics to physically and symbolically shut down the Inauguration, related events, and the urban area surrounding it.”
Additionally, they’re looking to cause chaos on Inauguration Day – or threaten to physically prevent the President-elect from taking the oath of office. This would be unprecedented in American history.
If the situation becomes so fraught that the Trump-Pence team cannot take their oaths of office on the Capitol Pavilion, they may be forced to do so in private. Surely, this will disappoint the hundreds of thousands of people standing on the National Mall to watch the peaceful transition of power that is a hallmark of American government.
Michael Moore’s group is far from the only organization of protestors that plans to attend the Inauguration weekend. Roughly 135,000 people said that they would attend a protest, which began as a women’s march, on the National Mall on the Saturday morning after the Inauguration. However, this plan might be thwarted if the group is unable to obtain a permit from the National Parks Service to gather at the Lincoln Memorial.
The National Parks Service has jurisdiction over the National Mall and many of the monuments that dot the surrounding landscape. The NPS and the Inaugural Committee work closely together to determine if, and how, to issue permits to civic groups on Inauguration Day (much of that space will be taken up by people viewing the ceremonies).
The Trump-Pence Inaugural festivities are attracting far more protestors than any other inauguration in recent memory. According to ABC News, NPS spokesman Mike Litterst said, “Twenty groups have applied for permits, and those applications are all classified as pending, according to park service records. That’s about four times the number of groups that asked to protest during previous inaugurations.”
Because so many groups are applying for permits this time around, the job of distributing the permits is now especially complicated. All of the permit requests are currently considered “pending” – meaning that the groups might get permission to protest at monuments and other sites, after all.