Black-clad protesters smash shops, cars in Washington
A new era dawned yesterday in the United States of America and probably the world as Donald Trump became the 45th president of the US.
Trump took the oath of office at the Capitol, Washington DC, vowing to make the protection of American interests and rebuilding of the country using “American hands” the supreme priority.
Henceforth, he declared in his inauguration address, for which the globe had waited with bated breath, that it would be “America first and only America first.”
The inauguration of the controversial real estate mogul and former reality television star, however, brought with it echoes the dissent and divisive campaign his campaign produced during the long and turbulent 2016 election, as throngs of protesters arrived to disrupt proceedings.
A large group of activists from the anarchist group known as the black bloc smashed storefront windows and cars as they clashed with police shortly before the swearing-in ceremony was due to begin. Officers in riot gear responded with pepper spray and stun grenades as the breakaway protesters were overwhelmed with force less than two miles from the US Capitol.
Addressing a huge crowd of fans that gathered on the lawn of the Capitol, the new American president served notice that his administration would do less of external interference and concentrate on empowering Americans and defending as well as making the country strong and great again.
His words: “American carnage stops right here and right now,” stressing that he would strip power away from Washington and give it “back to the people.
“We must think big and dream even bigger,” he said. “America will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our borders, we will bring back our wealth and we will bring back our dreams.”
President Trump said the United States would not impose its lifestyle on anyone, but “we will shine for everyone to follow.
Of radical Islamic terrorism, the new president said, “we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.”
Trump stressed the need for unity and solidarity among Americans, identifying these as the strength of the nation. He noted that “When America is united, America is unstoppable.” According to him, “whether we are black, or brown, or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriotism…whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look at the same sky and they are infused with the same breath of life by the Almighty Creator.”
Two clergymen and a Rabbi prayed for the success of the new president and his administration, with one noting that the shower of rain, which began shortly after President Trump began his speech, was a good sign of blessing.
Barack Obama, the former president and his wife Michelle, the former first lady, watched on as they handed power to the Trumps.
Hillary and Bill Clinton were also there along with other former presidents, George W Bush and Jimmy Carter, and their first ladies.
George H W Bush and his wife Barbara remain in hospital in Houston. Also on hand was Obama’s deputy, Joe Biden.
It was the first time Mrs Clinton had come face-to-face with Mr Trump since her bruising election defeat to the Republican in November.
Unlike previous inaugurations, the lineup of performers has been
largely kept quiet as a number of individuals who were either asked to
participate or who were announced as part of the lineup ended up
dropping out following backlash.
Another abnormal facet of the day was the sizable number of
congressional Democrats who boycotted the ceremony. The latest count
has one-third of all House Democrats skipping the inauguration.
While security is always heightened for major events like these, Mr.
Trump’s inauguration took to the next-level for security staff.
A series of planned anti-Trump marches and protests are expected to
take place around the nation’s capital from yesterday until late
Most of the protesters who took part in yesterday’s declined to be
interviewed or named, but one said their purpose was to reject “a
system of economic exploitation called capitalism”. “It’s not just
about no order,” he said. “It’s about human freedom and an economy
that’s run by the people.”
Another group of activists attempted to shut down a number of the
security points allowing access to the public viewing area of the
inauguration on the National Mall early yesterday.
The small groups at these checkpoints, organised by a group called
Disrupt J20, linked arms, as some members were led away by police
wearing body armour. The organization claimed on social media that
they had temporarily shut down a number of the dozen checkpoints
around the Mall, with a group of Black Lives Matter protesters
reportedly closing access at one location for over an hour.
The group of around 200 people, many wearing black hoodies and masks,
were eventually contained by officers as they chanted: “This is what a
police state looks like” and “You’re protecting fascists.”
Eyewitnesses reported only a handful of arrests.