By Anamika Dutta, Features Editor
Protests and uproar continue to shake Washington, D.C. after the tumultuous election season and inauguration of Donald J. Trump on January 20th, 2017. His words and actions throughout the campaign sparked outrage across the country, and Washington, D.C. became the perfect site to vent these frustrations and execute the right to peaceful protests.
Traveling to D.C. this weekend, I was unsure of what to expect in terms of the atmosphere. In light of President Trump’s executive order to ban travelers from seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia, for 90 days, the United States has erupted even further into controversy. As a result of the order, refugee admissions have been suspended for 120 days, while Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely. Although President Trump referred to his executive order as simply an immigration ban, the seven countries listed all have predominantly Muslim populations. He made it unclear as to who is safe from the ban, causing confusion among those with green cards or permanent United States citizenship. Justifying the ban as “restricting entry of terrorism suspects,” President Trump enraged many Americans, who quickly rallied around their Muslim neighbors and made their concerns vocal in front of the White House.
I did not realize the extent to which protests were still on—going near the White House. My family and I were trying to drive to the Smithsonian Museums, but every other road appeared to either be blocked off entirely or flooded with other cars in a complete gridlock, due to the occupation of protesters marching along the streets. Police were stationed nearly everywhere. We knew we had to make a stop at the White House to see if anything eventful was happening. Upon arrival, we saw hordes of people gathered near the Department of the Treasury, which I found odd, as I assumed the protests were supposed to be in front of the White House. Looking more closely, I saw that the White House and its surrounding roads were fenced off to the public, which is usually never the case. Security guards and police stood near the fences blocking off the White House, as more protesters—comprised of men, women, children, and dogs—joined the crowd. A sense of justice and frustration loomed in the air, as chants echoed: “Love, not hate, that’s what makes America Great!” “Donald Trump, don’t you see? You’re not welcome in D.C.!” and “Love, not fear, Immigrants are welcome here!” The passion in the crowd was inspiring, as people of all ethnicities gathered together to fight against an order that betrays the ideals of this nation.
The inauguration is over, and America has a new president. As changes continue to rock the country, it appears the area surrounding the White House will be home to many a protest—as those who fight for liberty and justice for all continue to make their voices heard in Washington D.C.
Photograph Credits: http://www.mic.com