Demonstrators began gathering in Oakland early Friday morning to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
Protests are planned throughout the nation and the Bay Area Friday and Saturday; in the East Bay, walkouts are planned at several schools, a march is planned for downtown Oakland on Friday night, and Women’s March Bay Area has organized events in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose for Saturday, in coordination with a larger march planned for Washington DC that day.
In Washington, inauguration ceremonies began Friday around 8:30 am EST, with Donald and Melania Trump attending a church service before meeting with outgoing President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama in a reception at the White House. The swearing-in ceremony began around 11:15 EST in front of the Capitol Building, with the oath of office administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Demonstrators began gathering in Oakland around 7 am. As a steady drizzle fell, a crowd of about thirty to sixty people began marching in a circle outside the entrance to Oakland’s Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building, chanting “No KKK, no fascist USA, no Trump!” and “Down with Trump! We don’t need him! All we want is total freedom!”
One demonstrator, prepared for rain, was toting an umbrella with “The Power is in the People” painted on it in large block letters.
“I think my sign speaks for itself,” said protester Jane Perry, who was carrying a “Dump Rump” sign made out of a storage box and wrapped in plastic to protect it against the drizzle. “I’m here to support compassion in government.”
Protester Emily Jennings said she had come to the federal building to “stand with my friends for equality and unity” and to protest any potential challenges to women’s reproductive rights and access to birth control. “It’s clear those rights will not be protected” under the new administration, she said.
Tyler Rougeaux, an organizer with a group called the Oakland Solidarity Assembly, said members of his group are concerned about Trump’s previous derogatory statements about women and minorities, and that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” He said his group’s initial intention was to shut down the federal building, but since they hadn’t gathered a big enough crowd to do that, they had decided to simply demonstrate outside of it. “This building was selected because of the symbolism of the connection between ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and Trump’s proposed policies” on immigrants and deportation, he said. “Obviously, it didn’t start with Trump. He’s riding that rhetoric.”
Rougeaux said he expects the labor movement to grow and people to continue to protest as new policies are enacted by the Trump administration. “There are going to be people coming out and demonstrating regularly,” he said.
East Bay Area Danzantes, Mexica, a group of Aztec dancers, led a ceremonial dance using drums, hand percussion and a conch shell. “We’re resisting this lie of this president and we’re resisting the hate and the racism and the white supremacy and that that is the medicine of this prayer,” said dancer Tiny Garcia of Poor Magazine.
By 9 am, the protest outside the federal building had died down, and most of the protesters had moved over to Frank Ozawa Plaza in front of Oakland City Hall, where organizers were setting up tents and passing out warm food in preparation for a strike and march planned to begin at noon.
Erica Etelson of the group Indivisible East Bay was handing out flyers from a rain-proof Ziplock bag urging people to resist Trump’s administration and policies. She said left-leaning activists will be borrowing tactics used by the conservative Tea Party movement to influence politicians and to urge them to block Republican policies and nominations. “Now is the time to just say no,” she said.
Trump, she said, “is certainly inspiring deep resistance.”
“I’m here today because this person isn’t my president,” said protester Yael Martinez, who was carrying a picket sign and wearing a “Not my president” sweatshirt. “The majority of the people didn’t vote for him. He is not a good leader and doesn’t stand for anything I stand for. He’s not my president today; he’s not going to be my president ever. The biggest issue on my mind is that Trump fully supports misogyny, racism, and homophobia. It’s alarming this is where we are in 2017.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf released a message promising city workers and residents that their local government will work to enforce legal and civil rights protections, and to maintain Oakland’s status as a sanctuary city for undocumented residents.
“We will protect Oakland, California, and the nation by flexing the levers of power at the state and local levels and fighting for change on the federal level as well,” she stated in the press release. “In the face of behavior by President-Elect Trump that has demonstrated ill-preparedness to lead, disrespect of the office and its traditions and wild unpredictability in decision-making, we know we are entering uncharted waters. We will not offer false hope. Instead we will get real and get organized. We will remind our workforce and our residents of the rights they already have under the law and enforce them with fairness and conviction – from voting rights to fair housing and health care laws, to the most basic tenets about whom we love and how we ensure every child receives the quality education that is their birthright as Americans.”
Oakland North will update this story throughout the day.