As President Donald Trump took office in Washington, D.C., Friday morning, several hundred people, many of them high school students, gathered on the steps of the Legislative Building in Olympia to protest the Republican’s inauguration.
Demonstrators at the rally took turns addressing the crowd, criticizing Trump for a number of his proposals, including his intent to repeal the health care law known as Obamacare and his plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
Some protesters later marched in downtown Olympia, blocking streets and train tracks. One man burned an American flag.
At the Capitol, people in the crowd waved signs, including “resist bigotry,” and “make America native again,” while occasionally chanting anti-Trump slogans.
Some at the rally urged deeper involvement in local politics. Others called for continued protest.
Malachi Horgdal, a senior at Olympia High School, pressed for unity among Trump’s critics.
“As long as we stay joined, (Trump) cannot divide us,” he said to the assembled crowd.
Horgdal, 17, was one of a large contingent at the Capitol from Olympia High. He said students from his school and others nearby organized to join the protest, deemed a “Youth Unity Rally,” through word of mouth and social media.
Not everybody at the protest was unhappy about Trump’s inauguration, though.
Michael Bane, a 51-year-old civil engineering contractor from Lacey and a Trump supporter, stood near the back of the crowd wearing Trump campaign signs he had attached to his chest.
Bane, who said he believes Trump will bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States and support veterans, said he wasn’t at the anti-Trump rally to cause conflict.
“I am here because these people are standing up for what they believe, so I wanted to stand up for what I believe," he said.
In the afternoon, some protesters — joined by others with anarchist paraphernalia — marched downtown, briefly stopping at times to block intersections along Capitol Way.
Nina Sullivan, an organizer of the march, said she came out to protest Trump in part for the accusations of sexual assault against him that emerged during the campaign. The 28-year-old said she also is concerned Trump won’t protect the environment from climate change, something the president has called a hoax in past statements.
“I think we will go through four years of terrifying things,” she said.
A smaller group was blocking the railroad tracks and the street at Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street Southeast around 3:15 p.m., said Lt. Paul Lower, a spokesman for Olympia police. The group had left the roadway around 4:00 p.m., the department posted on Twitter.
Nobody was arrested at the marches in the early afternoon, Lower said.