Washington DC — The White House typically sees several protests on any given weekend, but since the election of President Trump, it has become ground zero for increasing anger and discontent. The Secret Service has responded by setting up barricades in the middle of Pennsylvania Ave. to keep protesters back from the iron fence. The barricades have become a common feature in Lafayette Square, often left for extended periods of time.
In addition to the White House, Capitol and Lincoln Memorial, Trump International Hotel–the president’s namesake property–has become a compulsory spot for demonstrations.
Several different groups took to the streets and assembled at Washington sites on January 27 to weigh in on Trump Administration policies on a host of issues, including immigration, DACA, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and residency rights. There was also an Iranian expatriates rally.
Twerking at Trump Hotel
An LGBTQIA dance held outside the Trump International Hotel drew several hundred people. The “Werk For Consent” action called on the federal government to respect women’s right to choose and to end the oppression of sex workers and Latino immigrants.
The organizers threw rainbow-color confetti from a truck flatbed while followers gyrated to popular music played from speakers mounted on it as it rolled along.
Nigel Farage, founder of Werk For Peace, said the Orlando tragedy two years ago inspired the creation of the trans and queer grassroots organization to promote peace through dance. “We’re here to use our bodies to dance as a means to reclaim our autonomy and expressing we will not be ok with sexual violence in our community,” said Farage.
Prayer and Protest at the White House
A rally for Muslim and immigrant rights at the White House drew nearly 500. An Imam led a group prayer while followers knelt on rugs laid out on a plastic sheet across Pennsylvania Ave. A dozen media groups vied for positions over the participants of the afternoon prayer.
Another rally outside the White House drew expatriates fighting for the liberation of Iran from its present government. Iranians who have become citizens were urging the Administration to help change the government of Iran and restore Prince Reza Pahlavi to power.
Light Projection on Trump Hotel
Later in the evening, the protests continued when a Muslim rights group projected a light show onto the side of Trump International Hotel. The projection included images of the torch of the Statue of Liberty and quotes from families affected by the Muslim ban. “Reject Trump’s Hate” read one, and “No Muslim Ban Ever” read another. The light projection was timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Muslim ban enacted by executive order.
Rally at Lincoln Memorial
There was a simultaneous rally at the Lincoln Memorial urging Congress to impeach the President for a variety of reasons, among them, questions over his business dealings with Russia and profiting from his resorts in violation of the Emoluments Clause.
Yohance Gregory, the son of the late civil rights activist Dick Gregory, said that protests were only the first step in social change. “This is the fun part. We’re not doing the work today. This is the pep rally for the work we will do,” he said.
Gregory urged protesters to return to their neighborhoods and get involved in building the community they wanted to see. “The civil rights movement wasn’t about marching just to march, it was about making sure everyone in our communities had a better quality of life,” he said.
Later the group marched to the White House and converged with other groups, turning Pennsylvania Ave. into a collective cacophony of bullhorns, chants and signage.
Three members of the U.S. Communist Party handed out literature extolling the advantages of an economic system which allocates resources equally and criticizing capitalism’s voracious appetite.
Nearby at the edge of Pennsylvania in front of the Peace Vigil, its chief activist-on-duty, Philipos Melaku-Bello, displayed signs donated by protesters from each of the events as they passed. The vigil has taken on a sort of visual protest cornucopia as nearly two dozen different signs with varying messages are displayed across its face and on the sidewalk.
Melaku-Bello held up one sign in support of Iranian expatriates. “I support you!” he yelled as they passed.