Inauguration Day ended with me running in fear down K Street, as the DC police fired “flash-bangs” to clear the mob of anti-Trump protesters.
Anarchists had set a limo on fire and were trying to stop the fire department from putting out the blaze. The explosions made me jump but it was being in the middle of a crowd that suddenly turned tail that was so frightening. It was run, or be trampled.
I needed a large bourbon when I got home.
The next day was the Women’s March on Washington, the first stirrings of opposition to President Trump. No one was sure how many people would attend.
The crowd turned out to be three times the size of the inauguration, nearly half a million people crammed into the streets of DC. The march was so large that they couldn’t march, the route being filled with people from mid-morning until night.
Not being a fan of crowds, I was going to meet some friends after the march. But they couldn’t get to me and I couldn’t get to them, separated by a few blocks and a couple hundred thousand people.
On Inauguration Day, I rode my bike down H Street, virtually alone. Now, a day later, tens of thousands of people streamed down this street by the White House. Rounding the corner on 15th St, I ran into a vast and immeasurable horde of women in pink hats pouring up from the Mall. I’d never seen anything like it, not even during the Obama inauguration of 2009.
I wanted to get to Freedom Plaza so I could get a photo of Pennsylvania Avenue and marchers stretching to the Capitol. But I couldn’t get there, feeling like a salmon trying to swim upstream. A never-ending crowd marched down the inaugural route, doing their own alternative parade, cheered on by protesters occupying the bleachers lining the route.
I dipped into one little corner of this vast throng, before turning to go back up 14th St. There’s a little crest on the street. Looking behind me, I could see the crowd stretching down 14th all the way to the Mall, where thousands more were marching. More people than I’ve ever seen in my life. Every few minutes, a vast cheer would rise up, echoing off the office buildings.
In contrast to the Inauguration Day protests, everyone was happy. There were no arrests. No one was masked. People smiled, took photos together and laughed at the signs mocking Trump.
The celebration went on into the night, demonstrators with signs parading around the White House for hours after the official end of the march.
I met friends for dinner afterward, going to an Irish bar a dozen blocks away from the protest. Far enough where I thought we could get a table. Wrong. Every seat of the bar was filled with women in pink hats. The TV was turned from a basketball game to CNN. When the broadcast showed video from the march, the crowd cheered, their voices filling up the bar, the sound of a vast protest movement coming to life.