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Inauguration Security Officials Brace For Clashes Between Trump Supporters, Protesters



 

Security for the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump is shaping up to be among the most challenging in recent history.

“I can’t think of an inauguration that presented more security challenges than this one,” Michael Chertoff, who served as secretary of homeland security under President George W. Bush and oversaw Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, told The New York Times.

Large numbers of protesters are expected in Washington along with multitudes of Trump supporters, and officials are worried about possible confrontations.

“To paraphrase Tolstoy: Each inauguration is risky, but each is risky in its own way,” Chertoff said.

Trump’s inauguration planning committee is expecting 2 million to 3 million supporters at his swearing-in ceremony.

More than 3,200 police officers, 8,000 members of the National Guard and 5,000 active-duty service members will be on hand during the Jan. 20 festivities.

Following an extremely contentious election, the three dozen agencies overseeing security are anticipating an unprecedented amount of protesters flooding D.C. for the inauguration.

“Everybody knows how contentious the campaign was,” said Christopher Geldart, the District of Columbia’s homeland security director. “Honestly, what really keeps me up at night around this is the ability for us to just allow folks to come in, express their views and leave safely.”

The National Park Service has already received 23 permit requests from groups hoping to host events during inauguration week. This is a large increase from previous inauguration years, where the Park Service typically receives only a handful of requests.

The left-wing ANSWER Coalition, whose slogan is “Stop the Trump Agenda,” is one of those groups.

“We have buses coming from Philadelphia, New York, New Haven, Boston, Chicago, cities in Florida,” said Yasmina Mrabet, an organizer for group, in an interview on NPR.

As of Dec. 27, more than 20,000 people have RSVPed for the ANSWER Coalition’s inauguration protest.

One day after the inauguration, on Jan. 21, the Women’s March is expected to draw as many as 200,000 protesters to gather near the U.S. Capitol.

If these estimates are correct, the volume of protesters at Trump’s inauguration would dwarf the amount who attended George W. Bush’s. An estimated 20,000 people demonstrated at Bush’s first inauguration in 2001, followed by an estimated 25,000 at his second in 2005.

Boris Epshteyn, the communications director for Trump’s inaugural committee, said the team respects the First Amendment rights of protesters, but urged them to protest “within all laws, rules, and regulations.”

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H/T westernjournalism.com

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