Protesting is an American tradition. After President Obama won, the right-wing took to the afternoon news dressed up in fake-Revolutionary War gear, holding up signs that proclaimed Obama was a Kenya and that commonsense policies were socialism. Sure, that was stupid, but that was also protesting. That was their right.
Trump is different, though. Like any good member of the patrician class, Der Trump decided that he wasn’t about to listen to us plebeians. So while we were preparing to march on Washington, D.C., to protest his inauguration, the Presidential Inauguration Committee worked to secure large sections of Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument, the National Mall, and the Lincoln Memorial for what CNN called “inauguration festivities.”
I’m pretty sure they misspelled “funerary rites” as “festivities,” but I’ll give them a pass.
This was done in what the Guardian called a “massive omnibus blocking permit,” which was filed by the National Park Service on behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, shutting down many of the most iconic spots, including the planned spot for the protest. This means that the “Women’s March on Washington,” which was scheduled to take place on January 21, won’t be happening. At least, not where they’d originally planned it to happen — locations that are often celebrated for hosting marches and protests against corrupt and abusive authority.
The National Park Service, rather than denying permits, claimed that they were “working with” the Women’s March for better alternatives. Those alternatives, though, haven’t been decided yet. According to Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service:
“Rather than denying permits, what we are doing with the women’s march is we’re working with the organizers to find a suitable alternative.”
“They’re construction zones, effectively.”
It has to do with bleachers, you see.
My question, regarding the claim they aren’t being denied permits, is this: if they can’t protest where they originally planned because the Presidential Inauguration Committee shut them out, that is being denied, isn’t it?
The Guardian would go on to note that this was “extremely unique,” a pleasant euphemism I’d use to describe 2016 if I cared about pleasant euphemisms.
Expect lawsuits. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a constitutional rights litigator and the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, told the Guardian that:
“We’ve issued the demand to the parks service because this is an illegal abridgment of first amendment rights … We expect they’ll conform to the constitution and make permits available,”
The protesters, for their part, don’t appear like they’re going to back down from the protest. While the march organizers didn’t respond to CNN’s request for communication, they’ve made it pretty clear in the past that they intend to march, come hell or high water.