Washington braces for massive protests as Trump becomes U.S. president



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Law enforcement officers in Washington on Friday were in brace for hundreds of thousands of people planning to celebrate or protest Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States.

About 900,000 people were expected to jam-pack central Washington, including the grassy National Mall facing the Capitol, where the New York businessman and former reality TV star will be sworn in.

A disparate group of liberal activists irked by comments by Trump about women, illegal immigrants and Muslims have planned protests throughout central Washington.

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Supporters of Trump, who has never before held elected office, were expected to fill the streets to cheer the man they see as bringing a fresh approach to politics and sparking economic growth.

One of the largest anti-Trump protests expected on Friday will be organised by the ANSWER Coalition, a broad-based liberal group, which expects to have thousands at the U.S. Navy Memorial, along the parade route.

“It’s Day One, we’re saying, of a larger era of resistance, and we believe we’re going to send a very powerful message to Trump and the government.

“The Trump agenda is very comprehensive. It includes attacks on Muslims, immigrants, on women’s rights, on workers’ rights.

“So really, no matter what community you’re a part of, you have a stake in this fight,’’ Ben Becker, 33, an organiser with the group, said.

Trump supporters also flooded into the capital, many sporting baseball caps bearing his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

Jackson Rouse, an 18-year-old high school senior from northeastern Arkansas, who skipped school to attend the inauguration with his father, expressed concern.

He said that several dozen Democratic congressmen and congresswomen planned to stay away from the inauguration in protest.

“I think he was voted in fairly and it was a fair election.

“I love Trump. I expect changes and I expect he’s going to do everything he said he was going to do,’’ Rouse said.

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