Protests erupt ahead of Trump's inauguration

By Reuters   January 20, 2017 | 07:07 am PT
'Trump presidency gets my blood boiling ... Everything we value could be gone.'

DC: Anti-Trump activists try to block access to inauguration

Liberal activists protesting U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration scuffled with police in Washington on Friday after attempting to block the Republican real estate developer's supporters streaming in for the ceremony.

About 900,000 people were expected to pack the grassy National Mall facing the Capitol, where Trump will be sworn in, as well as the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House and other parts of central Washington.


Protesters block an entry point before the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Bryan Woolston

Protesters organized by a group called Disrupt J20 linked arms at one of the dozen security checkpoints leading to the largest public viewing area for the ceremony, and several were led away by police in riot helmets and body armor.Organizer Alli McCracken, 28, of Washington, said Disrupt J20 hoped to shut down the checkpoint as a sign of its displeasure over Trump's controversial comments about women, illegal immigrants and Muslims.

"We have a lot of people of diverse backgrounds who are against U.S. imperialism and we feel Trump will continue that legacy," McCracken said on a gray morning when rain was forecast.

One of the largest anti-Trump protests expected on Friday will be organized by the ANSWER Coalition, a broad-based liberal group, which expects to have thousands at the U.S. Navy Memorial, along the parade route.

"It's Day One, we're saying, of a larger era of resistance, and we believe we're going to send a very powerful message to Trump and the government," said Ben Becker, 33, an organizer with the group.

Trump supporters also flooded into the capital, many sporting baseball caps bearing his "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan.


A supporter of President-elect Donald Trump carries a flag bearing Trump's likeness into a march of protesters against Trump along the inaugural parade route outside the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. Photo by Reuters/James Lawler Duggan

One of them, Kathy Williams, 54, a Veterans Administration hospice nurse from Cleveland, said she woke up around 4 a.m. to be at the event. Trump, a real estate developer and former reality TV star, is expected to be sworn in at midday (1700 GMT).

"God is taking our country back because Donald Trump is going to put God back in our country and let Christians be equal with everybody again. I support our military, that's why I voted for Trump," said Williams, who called herself a "Gun- and bible-carrying God-fearing Republican."

Bikers, potheads

Other groups planning to be on the streets on Friday include Bikers for Trump, who will hold a parade route rally without their motorcycles, and pro-marijuana activists who plan to hand out 4,200 joints to be lit up in violation of federal and local laws.

While Washington will be the focal point of the protests, anti-Trump activists have planned sympathy rallies around the nation and the world.

Thousands of people in New York marched to Trump Tower, the businessman's home, on Thursday night to protest his victory in the Nov. 8 election. Activists in London hung a banner reading "Build bridges not walls" on the city's iconic Tower Bridge on Friday, in a reference to Trump's signature campaign promise of building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.


U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (C) participate in a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, U.S., January 19, 2017, one day before Trump's inauguration as the nation's 45th president. Photo by Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

About 30 groups have obtained permits for protests they estimate will attract about 270,000 people on Friday and Saturday, far more than have been seen in other recent presidential inaugurations.By far the largest protest is expected to be Saturday's Women's March on Washington, which some 200,000 people from around the country are expected to attend.

The U.S. Secret Service, Washington police and other law enforcement agencies planned to have some 28,000 officers in place to secure a roughly three-square-mile (almost eight-square-kilometre) area of downtown Washington

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said police aimed to keep groups separate, using similar tactics employed during last year's Republican and Democratic political conventions.

Small protests against Trump in Japan, Philippines

Several hundred people, most of them expatriate Americans, held a protest on Friday in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, hours before his inauguration in Washington.


A woman holds an anti U.S. President-elect Donald Trump placard during a rally in Tokyo, Japan, January 20, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Toru Hanai

Some people held up electric candles and others carried placards reading "Love Trumps Hate" and "Women's Rights Are Human Rights", as they marched along a downtown street.

"Trump presidency gets my blood boiling ... Everything we value could be gone. It's time to speak your mind and concerns and to do our best to salvage the values we cherish in America," said Bill Scholer, an art teacher.

"I grew up in the 1960s, and it feels like we are going backwards, and am very worried that we will lose all of the advances we have made over these years," said Holly Thompson, a writer.

Women's rights activists plan protests in various Asian cities on Saturday.


People hold placards during a rally ahead of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, in Tokyo, Japan January 20, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Toru Hanai

In the Philippines earlier on Friday, about 200 demonstrators from a Philippine nationalist group rallied for about an hour against Trump outside the U.S. embassy in Manila.

Some held up signs demanding U.S. troops leave the Philippines while others set fire to a paper U.S. flag bearing a picture of Trump's face.

Trump's presidency is being viewed with caution in some parts of Asia.

He alarmed China by breaking with decades of precedent last month by taking a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and objects to countries interacting with it as a violation of Beijing's "one-China" principle. Trump has even raised questions about the U.S. position on the principle.

Trump has also criticized China's trade practices and threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports.

He has also said he would kill an ambitious Asia-Pacific trade pact, raising questions about the prospects for globalization and free trade.

History suggests Trump month will be stocks down, dollar up

For financial markets, the Trump era begins on Monday, and if history is any guide the following month should be a rocky one for Wall Street but positive for the dollar.

The S&P 500 has fallen a median 2.7 percent in the month after each new president has taken the keys to the White House since Herbert Hoover did so in January 1929, according to Reuters analysis.

Only four presidents have seen Wall Street rise in their first month in power: Hoover (+3.8 percent), John F. Kennedy in 1961 (+6 pct), George H. W. Bush in 1989 (+5.3 pct) and Bill Clinton in 1993 (0.8 pct).

The market has fallen in the first month under every other incoming president since Hoover. Even Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, who ultimately presided over 120 percent and 165 percent rallies on Wall Street during their two terms, respectively, saw initial slides of 4.8 percent and 15 percent.


The statue of Civil War General and former US President Ulysses S. Grant faces the crowd gathering for the inauguration ceremonies to swear in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Carlos Barria

The dollar tends to fare better. Analysis going back to the early 1970s when the currency was taken off the gold standard shows it has risen an average 2.2 percent in the first month of a first-time president.

Donald Trump takes office as the 45th president of the United States with investor apprehension over an incoming president has rarely been higher.

"There are two sides to Trump, the one side focusing on U.S. stimulus which drives up global growth and the other side, the protectionist Donald Trump that could do the opposite. So the big question is which will we get?," said State Street Global Advisors' EMEA head of currencies James Binny.

Markets latched on after Trump won the November election to his reflationary and pro-growth stance: stocks rose to new highs, the bond selloff deepened, and the dollar clocked a 14-year peak against the euro.

But as the inauguration has drawn closer, that momentum has faded. This week, the Dow Jones and dollar hit six-week lows, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield its lowest since late November, and gold rose to its highest in two months.


Dawn illuminates the Washington Monument before the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Some investors are playing safe.

"We are neutral, because we don't know exactly what direction Trump will take," said Lukas Daadler, chief investment officer of investment solutions at Robeco, a subsidiary of Robeco Group. The latter has 269 billion euros in assets under management.

"There is some extreme positioning out there, so there's the risk of a short squeeze. But we've taken a neutral stance, and we might see more detail on his plans next week."

Much of that positioning is in the U.S. bond market and the dollar. Speculators have amassed record bets against 10-year Treasuries, and according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's January fund manager survey, the most overcrowded trade in the world now is the pro-dollar trade.

BAML strategists said on Friday that although there has been a clear cooling of "Trump trade" bets in recent weeks, overall investor sentiment is its highest in three months.

They recommend sticking with they call the "Icarus trade" - one last 10 percent rise in stocks and commodities before the rally ends.

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