Authorities are expecting huge numbers of protestors to take over Washington D.C. during the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump will officially become the 45th President of the United States on Friday, and his inauguration will bring tens of thousands of protesters to Washington D.C. The expected attendance of 800,000 - 900,000 for his inauguration is significantly less than the 1.8 million that were present for Obama's first inauguration in 2009. But the number of protestors who will be in D.C. this weekend is far more than Obama ever saw, and thus, the police presence will be greater as well.
The National Park Service has granted a total of 22 permits for First Amendment events that are set to take place over inauguration week on park service lands, which include the White House and the National Mall, reports NBC News. Those protests may range in size from 50 people to 200,000. Demonstrations with less than 50 people do not require a permit.
Of course, these permits do not account for the protests that are not on park service lands as well as large demonstrations that may not have properly registered. Typically, the National Park Service has given about about half a dozen permits for past inaugurations.
According to the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, there will be 3,200 police officers from around the country assigned to the inauguration parade route. Comparatively, there were 2,500 officers present on the same route for Obama's first inauguration, and 3,000 for his second. Security costs for Trump's inauguration are predicted to be over $100 million. There are also 5,000 National Guardsmen that have been appointed to work the inauguration.
The largest protest of the inauguration will be the Women's March on Washington, which is scheduled for Saturday (Jan. 21), the day after Trump is sworn in. The Women's March has acquired a permit for 200,000 demonstrators, and according to social media data surrounding the event, a crowd of that size, or even larger, seems likely. If the Women's March is of that size, it will be the largest inaugural protest in history, says Inaugural Historian Jim Bendat.
Ben Becker, an activist behind two sizable protests put on by the ANSWER coalition, explained that Trump's campaign has incited protest among many different groups, which may not have been banded together for past inaugurations. "His election has itself become a point of protest for women, Muslim communities, for immigrants, for people who care about education, social security, Medicare," he said, "the list is almost limitless in terms of the people who feel threatened by what a Trump presidency would mean."
Not all of the groups that have acquired permits are in opposition to Trump's presidency. There will be pro-Trump demonstrations as well. Most of the groups that obtained permits are expected to engage in peaceful protesting, though there will certainly be factions that try to thwart the functioning of a smooth inauguration process for the Trump administration.