In anticipation of wide-spread disturbances, several legal assistance organizations have announced they will provide free legal services to demonstrators arrested at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Friday’s inauguration is expected to generate significant protest activity, culminating in the Women’s March on the national mall Saturday, which could draw upwards of 200,000 participants. Outgoing Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson says they are aware of 63 actions planned for Friday, which could draw tens of thousands of demonstrators.
Given the heightened possibility of conflict, several D.C.-based legal organizations, including the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and National Lawyers Guild’s Washington chapter, have promised to provide free legal services for protestors taken into police custody.
The PCJF also released an advisory document for protestors called “Know Your Rights: Restrictions on Police Misconduct During Demonstrations in D.C.”
Previously, the PCJF threatened to sue the National Park Service for denying demonstration permits for spaces along the inaugural parade route and the White House complex. (RELATED: New York Mayor Plans A Trump Inauguration Protest)
“Fifteen days before the inauguration, the National Park Service and the Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee are stonewalling and refusing to release permits that are vitally needed by organizers in order to plan and execute peaceful, lawful free-speech activities,” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, the fund’s executive director, told reporters early in January.
The NPS relented and agreed to issue permits for protest actions around the White House Saturday Jan. 21. They have also authorized the ANSWER Coalition to stage a protest at the Navy Memorial plaza on Pennsylvania Ave., running directly adjacent to the inaugural parade. The coalition expects “massive mobilization” and will also boast a 28-foot stage and sound system to host speakers.
An inter-agency task-force comprised of 7,800 National Guardsman, 5,000 police, and 10,000 Homeland Security agents from various departments will provide security during Friday’s events.
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