Anarchists threaten to disrupt Trump
inauguration, police say ready
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[January 07, 2017]
By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Anarchist groups
have threatened to shut down Republican Donald Trump's swearing-in as
U.S. president, but police in Washington said on Friday they believe the
thousands of security officers assigned to the event will be able to
head off any disruption.
Dozens of activist groups plan to protest the Jan. 20 inauguration of
the New York real estate developer, whose supporters are counting on him
to fulfill a host of controversial campaign promises including building
a wall on the Mexican border and deporting millions of illegal
Police expect some 900,000 people to flood Washington for the
inauguration ceremony, which includes a parade from the U.S. Capitol to
the White House along streets thronged with onlookers.
Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham told reporters on Friday that in
addition to the more than two dozen activist groups that have sought
permits for peaceful demonstrations, Washington police were aware of
anarchist groups vowing online to interrupt the proceedings.
"The fact that you have some folks that are indicating on social media
that they're coming to shut down the inauguration events is something
that we will be prepared for," Newsham said. "We've experienced that
type of thing before in the city and we'll be able to handle it."
Asked about the prospect of mass arrests, Newsham said: "That's one of
the things that we have to prepare for, but we don't anticipate that
will be the case."
Protests are planned before, during and after the inauguration, with the
biggest event the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21. The National
Park Service said Thursday it would start issuing permits for protest
sites after civil rights lawyers threatened to sue, saying the agency
was quashing dissent.
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Workers construct the viewing stands ahead of U.S. President-elect
Donald Trump's January inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in
Washington, U.S., December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
About 3,000 police officers from outside the District, 5,000
National Guard troops and federal agents will staff buffer
crowd-control barriers and bag checks, said Brian Ebert, the head of
the Secret Service's District field office.
Barriers will be in place to prevent any possible truck attack, such
as the attacks in Berlin last month and in Nice, France, in July.
A pro-pot lobbying group has vowed to distribute 4,200 joints and
light up near the inaugural site to show support for legalization of
marijuana nationwide. Marijuana is legal in the District of Columbia
but can only be consumed in private.
Asked if police would bust smokers, Mayor Muriel Bowser said, "That
wouldn't be our first priority."
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)
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