Belfast Telegraph

Protests and boycotts for Trump's inauguration day

By David Mercer

Donald Trump has promised a "beautiful" inauguration ceremony as he prepares to be sworn in as US President amid plans for widespread protests and a boycott by dozens of politicians.

The tycoon-turned-politician will address hundreds of thousands of people in Washington DC and millions watching around the world tomorrow in his first speech as the 45th President of the United States.

A huge security operation has been launched, including a heavily-guarded perimeter around the US Capitol building, where Mr Trump will deliver his inaugural address.

Demonstrations against the controversial Republican have been planned in cities across America, including one by group Disrupt J20, which aims to disrupt the inaugural parade.

A women's march on Washington, taking place a day after the inauguration ceremony, is expected to attract 200,000 people, while protests are also planned in UK cities, including Belfast.

"We're going to have a very, very elegant day," Mr Trump said. "The 20th is going to be something that will be very, special, very beautiful."

His comments came as Barack Obama gave his final presidential news conference.

Speaking at the White House, Mr Obama warned that the "moment may be passing" for a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.

Mr Trump is reportedly drafting a relatively short inaugural speech with the help of Stephen Miller, his incoming senior White House adviser for policy.

"He wants to continue to talk about issues and areas where he can unite the country and bring it together," Mr Trump's transition spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Hillary Clinton is listed to attend the inauguration ceremony with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, despite her bitterly-fought election loss.

President Barack Obama and former President George W Bush will also attend.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who was the first British politician to meet Mr Trump after his election victory, will travel to Washington for the ceremony.

Around 50 Democratic Congress members have said they will boycott Mr Trump's inauguration following his row with Congressman John Lewis.

Mr Lewis called Mr Trump's victory illegitimate because of Russia's alleged interference in the election, prompting the President-elect to brand the civil rights activist as "all talk, talk, talk - no action or results".

A rally will be held in Belfast on Saturday as part of the wave of international action timed to take place on the first day of Mr Trump's Presidency. The rally will be spearheaded by American ex-pat Jennie Carlsten.

Representatives of the Belfast Feminist Network, Black Lives Matter NI, Housing4All NI, and Friends of the Earth will all speak at the event.

Ms Carlsten said: "Belfast is closely connected to the US in so many ways by family, friends and work relationships. What happens there affects us all. This is a peaceful rally to show that we will not accept intolerance or injustice here or anywhere else."

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International, which is supporting the demonstration and other events around the world, said: "The politics of fear should have no place in 2017."

Another rally organised by campaign group Fight4Equality will be held at the US Consulate in Belfast tomorrow.

Inauguration events get under way today when Mr Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence lay wreaths at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

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