Thousands of spectators, including many Georgetown students, attended the inauguration of President Donald Trump today at the United States Capitol, which was accompanied by a series of protests from multiple groups.
The 45th president took his oath of office around 12 p.m. and followed with his inaugural address, which focused on goals previously stated in his campaign.
“Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people,” Trump said. “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.”
Aakash Panjabi (MSB ’19), an attendee, said his excitement of experiencing history turned into discomfort and fear once he arrived at the Capitol.
“It was kind of scary, I felt really uncomfortable, actually, being here. I figured I might never be able to go to an inauguration so I came,” Panjabi said. “I wasn’t scared coming into it. I think when I got here and I saw everyone around me it kind of freaked me out.”
Members of the Georgetown University College Republicans also attended the ceremony, including GUCR President Allie Williams (SFS ’19).
“We were proud today to witness the swearing in of our 45th president. The excitement and patriotism was contagious and the deep divisions that were prevalent during the election season were trumped by national pride and optimism for the future of our country,” Williams wrote in an email to The Hoya. “President Trump expressed his desire to unify the country and ensure American interests are prioritized going forward, a sentiment that GUCR is in full support of and excited to witness.”
Outside the gates of the ticketed areas in front of the Capitol, protesters began marching, chanting and demonstrating for various causes. Around 2 p.m., protests turned confrontational and D.C. police in riot gear began interacting with a group of demonstrators at the corner of 12 and K streets.
The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department confirmed in a press conference that over 200 protesters had been arrested as of 6 p.m. this evening.
Earlier in the day, around 10:30 a.m., MPD arrested other protesters for acts of vandalism and destruction of property. In a press release, MPD said they used pepper spray and other control devices on protesters to prevent further damage.
“During the incident, police vehicles were damaged and two uniformed officers sustained minor injuries from coordinated attacks by members of the group that were attempting to avoid arrest,” the statement read.
Disrupt J20, a protest group, organized several movements and groups to demonstrate around McPherson Square.
Zack Roggoff, media liaison for Disrupt J20, said the group’s purpose was to provide support for all demonstrators wanting to participate in protest.
“We were all in the same room planning and we came up with these blockade actions and we all went to them, but after a while, people left their specific blockades and all coalesced in this one big one,” Roggoff said. “So like, the Black Lives Matter blockade ended up getting supported by people who were there with a Palestinian rights organization, people who were there with an animal rights organization, a labor group.”
RefuseFacism.org, an organization that gathered at McPherson Square as part of the larger coalition of protesting groups, gained attention on Georgetown University’s campus over the past two weeks by passing out fliers in Red Square and outside the front gates. Some of its members also interrupted class sessions.
RefuseFacism.org member Scott Gilbert said he joined the organization and protested the inauguration because of his experience as the son of a Holocaust survivor.
“I remember asking my mom, ‘Why did the German people let that happen?’” Gilbert said. “A lot of people say give Trump a chance, but we have history to learn from. We don’t want to wait until that happens when they’re rounding people up, building walls.”
Hoya Staff Writer Christian Paz contributed reporting.
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