Vermonters Join Inaugural Protests in Washington, D.C. | Off Message

Vermonters Join Inaugural Protests in Washington, D.C.


Demonstrators march on the street near a security checkpoint inaugural entrance. - AP PHOTO/JOSE LUIS MAGANA
  • AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
  • Demonstrators march on the street near a security checkpoint inaugural entrance.
Inauguration Day has proven chaotic in parts of downtown Washington, D.C., with masked anti-Trump demonstrators clashing with police and smashing windows as flash grenades explode at intersections and military choppers hover above the nation’s capital.

Some Vermonters joined in street-level nonviolent resistance to the Republican regime, which got off to a disorganized start. At least three marches of 2,000 or so protesters meandered separately along avenues devoid of cars and lined with soldiers in combat fatigues and police officers wearing black gas masks.

Even the peaceful protests have had a bitter tone. A frequent chant was heard of “No KKK! No Fascist USA! No Trump!” Placards bobbing above crowds of marchers bore messages such as “Dump the Racist Rapist,” “Not Mein Fuhrer,” “Trump: You Can Kiss My Ass But Not Grab My Pussy” and, incongruously, “Seek the Living Jesus.”

The day’s most joyous moments were supplied by a Bread and Puppet contingent featuring a bouncy brass band, women with painted faces dancing on stilts, and whooping banner wavers who periodically fell writhing in the street. A slogan shouted by this group echoed in contrast to other marches’ militant choruses. “We’re all in the same boat,” the Bread and Puppet celebrants sang. “Keep the boat afloat!”

A group of 10 workers from City Market/Onion River Co-op in Burlington were gathered near the corner of K and 13th streets, half a dozen blocks from the inaugural parade route. They wore black T-shirts emblazoned with their union’s name — UE Local 203.

Shawn Corey, one of the co-op grocery store’s workers, said he had driven overnight from Burlington to Washington, D.C., “because this election was disastrous, and when I think something is wrong, I do something about it.”

Jillian Phayer, another City Market employee, added that she had come to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration for a variety of reasons. Defense of women’s rights is one, Phayer said, “but I’m primarily worried about climate change.” Pointing toward a group of protesters hemmed in by police 50 yards away, Phayer declared, “None of what we’re here for will mean anything if we don’t have a livable planet.”

The day’s anti-Trump actions seemed “a bit disorganized,” Phayer acknowleged. “It’s inevitable,” she added. “There are a lot of angry and frustrated people here today. It’s an unpredictable situation, and that can be toxic.”

Protesters took to the streets in Washington, D.C. on Friday. - KEVIN J. KELLEY
  • Kevin J. Kelley
  • Protesters took to the streets in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

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