On Saturday, Rev. Al Sharpton lead a protest at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial site in Washington, D.C., only days before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office.
Nearly 2,000 protesters turned out on a cold, rainy day in Washington to protest alongside Sharpton, which is likely the first of many protests to come in the days leading up to Trump’s inauguration.
It has been reported that dozens of groups hold permits to protest over the next week, and thousands have vowed to disrupt Trump’s inauguration.
Reuters reports that before Saturday’s protest march commenced, the masses gathered to listen to speakers who addressed the issues of defending minority rights and criminal justice under a Trump presidency.
“We march in the driving rain because we want the nation to understand that what has been fought for and gained, that you’re going to need more than one election to turn it around,” said Sharpton.
He also referenced fighting to preserve and protect Obama’s health care law: “We’re going to pressure the Senate on the Affordable Care [Act].”
Sharpton told the crowd, “Saddle up your horse and fight for the future of this country. You think you’re going to take away our health care? Saddle up your horse. We’re going to fight every step of the way. You better know we’re coming. We ain’t backing down. We lost a round, but the fight ain’t over.”
He also addressed lawmakers with his point-blank message: “We come to say to the Democrats in the Senate and in the House, and to the moderate Republicans, to get some backbone and get some guts.”
Sharpton expressed concern about the Trump administration undoing what Obama put in place over the past eight years:
“We want the world to see if you sell us out, we’re going to let everybody know who you are… We are not here because we didn’t have something else to do… We are here because we fought hard to make sure this administration had our pride and we are not going away. Criminal justice and police reform must go forward.”
Cornell William Brooks, president and chief executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, attended the protest and said, “We will march until hell freezes over, and when it does, we will march on the ice.”
The protest drew in fewer numbers than organizers had anticipated, but in attendance were the Hispanic group La Raza, politicians, family members of African-Americans slain by police, the National Urban League, Planned Parenthood, and the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights, said Reuters.
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