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Protests at the 2013 Inauguration by Jo Freeman

Inaugural symbolThere was less of everything at the 2013 inauguration than in 2009 – spectators, protests, and police. It was still a gargantuan event.


A two mile area from east of the Supreme Court to west of the White House was fenced off, requiring tickets or passes to enter. Those wanting to get to the public viewing areas that didn’t require tickets still had to submit to a search.

people stand in security lines

The Secret Service wrote the rules. It posted a long list of prohibited items which searchers removed if found. At the end of the day, the search tents were littered with piles of fruit, various food containers, sandwiches, bottles of liquids, confiscated backpacks, lost clothing – as well as anything which a security screener assessed as on the dangerous list.

older boy scout volunteers

Fewer national guard troops and outside police were brought in than in 2009. The Boy Scouts, some of whom were girls, handled a lot of functions previously done by uniformed personnel.


The protests were numerous, diverse and small. The National Park Service issued five permits for "first amendment activity" for Monday, January 21. Three were for spaces on Pennsylvania Ave. where only those who got up very early in the morning could get to their assigned spots, and only those in the parade, with bleacher tickets, or who were equally early risers, could see their signs, and then only if held up with cold hands. Among the prohibited items inside the security zone were "Supports for signs and placards." The other two permits were for a rally in Meridian Hill Park and an event in Dupont Circle. Other groups did their thing on Saturday and Sunday. Some didn’t bother with permits. Protestors ran the gamut from a church group which "hates fags," to anarchists, to opponents of "Israeli war crimes" to the DC government.

a patriotic pavillion

The District of Columbia government built a booth in front of its executive office building with a sign demanding "full democracy in DC." Fortuitously located right on the parade route, its message could not be missed by anyone in the parade or who had tickets to the Freedom Plaza bleachers across Pennsylvania Avenue. President Obama showed his support of DC aspirations by ordering that his limousine wear DC license tags imprinted with "taxation without representation."

The remnants of the DC anti-war movement organized a rally and march to honor Dr. Martin Luther King. Called the "Arc of Justice" march, it included all of the issues they thought Dr. King would support but on which President Obama has not acted.

Joan Stallard and Arc of Justice

Rally organizer Joan Stallard speaks to about a hundred
people at the pre-march gathering.

Many different groups and people brought their issues to the march.

Obama's report card Defense is America's Sacred Cow
Stop Devistating Cuts to Affordable Housing Glad Obama Won.  Will celebrate if/when he takes bold action on Climate Change
anarchists, pro choice, other protest interest groups
Drone parade float

Drones dominated the messages.
people protesting drones use an underpass

The DC police blocked traffic so that marchers could walk down 16th St. and underneath Scott Circle unimpeded.
a gigantic sign reads hope, audacity, integrity, spine up

Marchers dispersed on arriving at K St. Some left to do other things. One group reconnoitered outside Union Station to do a "die in."
protestors congregate in a park

About two dozen anarchists converged in McPherson Square, the small park that Occupy DC used as its base of operations in 2011-12. Advertised as an Unauguration, the anarchists led the DC police on a three-hour meandering march through DC streets around the edge of the security zone. They were often outshouted by the Obama supporters in the streets.
a group of protesters

Saturday night of inaugural weekend Jewish Voice for Peace organized a rally in Farragut Square which attracted about 300 supporters – making it the biggest of the protests on inaugural weekend.
Congress: Stop Funding Israeli War Crimes End the Israeli Occupation

JVP believes that aid to Israel should be conditioned on Israel following international law.

a large group of protesters

The rally was followed by a march to the White House around the theme of Stop Israel War Crimes.
a large fake check

The check reads: Pay to the Order of "Endless Illegal Settlements" the sum of "Three Hundred Eight Billion Dollars."
a large fake check

Among the many participants were a group of anti-zionist orthodox Jews based in upper New York state who travel frequently to participate in actions against Israel.

Read Jo's article about additional inaugural protests.

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