We had a pretty good idea going into Inauguration Weekend that this wasn't going to be your average ceremony. On the contrary, we knew that an entire weekend's worth of protests and demonstrations were set to forcefully collide with the festivities surrounding President Donald Trump's official swearing-in. With the Women's March on Washington slated to begin early Saturday morning, in addition to global sister protests, there was no doubt this was going to be one hell of wild ride.
Over the course of the weekend, our crew witnessed some truly outrageous moments of utter chaos. Conversely, we were moved by the courage of many of the many men, women, and nonbinary individuals we spoke to over the course of the weekend who rallied for hope. We rounded up the best of the best to bring you the following list of the wildest stuff we saw go down in Washington D.C. over Inauguration Weekend. Peep it below:
Rioters Lighting a Limo on Fire
Protesters had been demonstrating peacefully throughout the day Friday—chanting for women's reproductive rights, the environment, and a general disappointment that we'd managed to elect a pathological demagogue to hold the highest position in the White House. However, things hit a boiling point following ongoing standoffs between riot police and individuals who'd taken to vandalizing real estate downtown. After destroying property elsewhere, rioters smashed and lit a limousine fully on fire.
Complex's own Speedy Morman caught up with the limo driver, Luis Villarroel, who said his car was attacked with "some kind of metal I [didn't] recognize, wood, and bricks."
Having been less than five feet from this thing, I can attest to the fact that nothing will get you running like the possibility of a car exploding at any second. But it's worth reiterating that protests at neighboring demonstrations remained peaceful throughout the afternoon.
Dudes Handing Out 4,200 Free Joints
There were some topics on which Trump supporters and protesters were able to agree, as I witnessed a number of amiable conversations between the parties on Friday and Saturday. But it was the #Trump420 demonstration that saw attendees of all stripes coming out to support nationwide legalization and advocate for destigmatizing weed communities. The Complex News team was on deck to get the full run-down on DCMJ and its demonstration:
It's possible weed was the lowest common denominator at the Inauguration.
Truck Delivering Fake News So Extraordinary It Was Comical
The first thing I saw after leaving Union Station was a sea of Trump merchants selling tchotchkes, t-shirts, buttons, and other Trump-centric merch. But then, turning the corner, I spotted this:
There are a number of things wrong with this truck's blatantly partisan rhetoric. But the most glaring is its unfounded lie that "abortion increases breast cancer by 300 percent," a falsehood so sadly common that it has its own Wikipedia entry. A 2003 study from the National Cancer Institute found that "having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer," according to Cancer.gov.
The thing about this truck wasn't so much its dissemination of blatant misinformation so much as it being symbolic of a culture of falsehoods in this post-truth era—or, as the Trump administration would have it, "alternative truths."
Bizarre Exchange Between White Trump Protester and Bikers for Trump
This was definitely one of the stranger exchanges I came across during Inauguration Weekend. Friday afternoon, after Trump delivered his inaugural speech, I stumbled upon a man with a sign that read, "White Men Against Trump." Fine, right? Evidently not.
As some pro-Trump bikers made their way through protesters, an argument broke out between the two parties about "white solidarity" and Trump being "the worst president for a white man."
I really don't know about this one.
Michael Moore Was Literally Everywhere
Michael Moore arguably made more public appearances than any other celebrity who threw their name behind the Inauguration and Women's marches. Moore—whether or not you agree with his political activism—was fully out here for the anti-Trump movement. Dude popped up at speaking commencements and pep rallies in multiple East Coast cities at neck-breaking speed.
Here he is on Thursday evening in New York:
Here he is at a Friday afternoon rally in McPherson Square following Trump's inauguration speech:
And here he is at the Women's March on Washington:
Michael Moore, are you a witch?
Women Taking the Streets of Washington and Shutting Down Traffic Entirely
The Women's March on Washington, in addition to sister marches across the globe, saw women taking the streets in historic numbers. The Washington Post reports that "organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, who originally sought a permit for a gathering of 200,000, said Saturday that as many as half a million people participated." And according to the New York Times, crowd scientists estimate the turnout to be as high as three times as the number of attendees present for Trump's inauguration.
Here's one especially rad moment that protesters in the thousands successfully shut down traffic near the Washington Monument:
This was hardly the only intersection shut down by peaceful protesters taking the streets. Check out the aerial views:
Women shut that shit the fuck down.