By Mac Williams
On Friday Jan. 20, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. During the Inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people came out to watch the proceedings. Some however, decided to exercise their First Amendment right to protest.
Jake Sarver, a senior Public Relations major at The University of Findlay, attended the Inauguration, but did so to protest the incoming administration. According to Sarver, there were groups of protesters who blocked an entrance to the Inauguration. However, some became violent.
“I was one of those who helped block one of the entrances, but there were probably ten to fifteen people who became violent and began throwing things at the police,” Sarver said. “After they threw a couple things. That is when we started getting tear gassed.”
According to Sarver, he heard someone yell out that police had deployed the tear gas, and then he began to run away.
“I heard someone say ‘tear gas’ and then everyone started running away covering their mouths,” he said. “At that point I covered my mouth and ran out of the area.”
According to Sarver, the violent incident was very disappointing to him.
“For 99 percent of the protest it was peaceful and people were just there to make their voices heard,” he said. “It is really a shame that a few people decided to get violent because that defeats the entire purpose of the protest.”
The day following the Inauguration, millions of protestors filled the streets of cities across America and in 32 other countries. Protestors voiced their concerns on topics ranging from equal pay for equal work, pro-choice, and other women’s rights issues. According to ABC News, the women’s march in Washington D.C attracted more than 500,000 people. ABC News also estimates that 3 million people across the country and around the world took part in similar protests.
According to Sarver, who also attended the women’s march, the protest was about more than the president.
“We were there to protest the president yes, but it was more about letting people know that we are not going away, we will not be silent on these issues,” he said. “At the women’s march we started a movement to continue the discussion in this country about women’s rights and issues that they face.”
According to Sarver, the women’s march was peaceful and even felt like a family atmosphere at times.
“I saw people from all walks of life during the protest. I saw people who were in their 90s who wanted to come out and make their voices heard. I also saw families who brought their children, so it was definitely a diverse crowd for sure,” Sarver said. “We were not there to start riots or incite violence. We were they to send a message of equality.”
Sarver returned to campus the following day and says that he is glad that he took part in the march.
“I’m definitely glad I went because it was something that is a once in a generation type of thing,” Sarver said. “I think it is important to speak out if you disagree with something no matter which side of the issue you are on, because then that leads to an open dialogue on the topic.”