A group led by self-avowed anarchists says it intends to “paralyze” Washington, D.C., amid President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration next Friday, using security point blockades, protests and sit-ins in an attempt to grind the Republican’s swearing-in to a halt.
“If the headline (on Jan. 21) is, ‘Donald Trump inaugurated amid complete chaos and a cluster (expletive),’ then we won,” Legba Carrefour, an organizer for the group, DisruptJ20, said by phone yesterday. “A lot of us are people who could be considered anarchists. None of us have respect for the office or the man.”
The promised actions by the group come amid a raft of marches and events scheduled for the nation’s capitol and beyond protesting Trump’s ascension to the White House. But DisruptJ20, which has spread its plan via a stylized website and social media, aims to go far beyond a “boring walk in the street,” Carrefour said.
It’s holding training sessions for protesters, organizing a weeklong set of events and even providing legal guidance on its website in case of arrests. On the website, it declares, among other messages, that “cops lie a lot.”
“We’re planning a series of massive direct actions that will shut down the Inauguration ceremonies and any related celebrations — the Inaugural parade, the Inaugural balls, you name it,” the group’s site reads. “We’re also planning to paralyze the city itself, using blockades and marches to stop traffic and even public transit.”
Carrefour declined to say how many people the group expects to participate, and said that despite the group’s calls for mass disruption, he’s not concerned about “violence on the part of protesters.”
“We can do a lot with 200 people,” Carrefour said.
Peter Newsham, the acting chief of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police, has said police are aware of calls to disrupt the inaugural events but said cops don’t anticipate making mass arrests. A department spokesman yesterday declined to specify what security measures law enforcement are taking.
“The fact that you have some folks that are indicating on social media that they’re coming down to shut down the inauguration and the events is something that we will be prepared for,” Newsham said at a press conference last week.
A Trump spokeswoman deferred questions to the U.S. Secret Service, which did not respond to a request for comment.
State Rep. Geoff Diehl, Trump’s Bay State co-chairman, brushed off the promised protests, saying talk of widespread disruption was also commonplace before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
“This sounds a lot like big talk, much like the RNC,” said Diehl, who plans to attend Trump’s swearing-in.
DisruptJ20’s website also includes links to what it calls a “J20 Protest” outside D.C., including a Boston Women’s March and a Resist Trump rally planned for Boston Common.
Cole Harrison — of the Massachusetts Peace Action which is supporting both events — said he knows of no link to DisruptJ20 nor a combined “game plan” to disrupt the inauguration.
“While we don’t support Trump’s policies, out of respect for the people who voted for him, we don’t want to act like he can’t be president,” Harrison said.
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