Protesters lined the approach to the Capitol as Donald Trump’s motorcade arrived for his first State of the Union Address.
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With the exact route of the presidential motorcade a secret, protesters split into two groups and headed for opposite ends of the National Mall. Their hope was to cover the two likeliest routes from the White House to the Capitol – on Constitution and Independence Avenues – with a “greeting” the president would be hard-pressed to miss.
On a cold and breezy night, about fifty protesters were tightly corralled by an unusually large police presence onto a corner at 3rd Street and Constitution Avenue, the closest members of the public could get to the Capitol on the north end of the National Mall.
Motorcade after motorcade sped past protesters, who jeered the officials they escorted with loud booing and chants like “we need a leader, not a creepy tweeter.” Numerous signs – including a few with elaborate LED backlighting – referenced Trump’s response to Puerto Rico, the Mueller investigation, and calls for impeachment. Local anti-fascist organizers were also present.
About twenty minutes before the scheduled start of Trump’s speech, a particularly long motorcade including the American-flagged presidential state car was met with yells of “fuck Trump” in unison. The northern group dispersed shortly after, with a fraction marching to the National Press Club to join a related event.
Although police were stringent in keeping protesters off the roadway before and during motorcade passes, there were no incidents or arrests on the northern route.
On the southern route, about a dozen protesters remained for about a half hour after the motorcade. One lone Trump supporter from South Carolina held a Trump: Make America Great Again flag and a sign reading, “Mr. President, those that are for you, are greater, than those that are against you.” About a dozen police kept him and protesters apart before the group ultimately dispersed.