PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As Donald J. Trump took the oath of office Friday morning to become the 45th president of the United States of America, hundreds of Rhode Islanders marched in protest outside the Statehouse.
The inauguration festivities were marred with rallies around the country, some of which led to violence and vandalism.
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Chants of “not my president” and “this is what democracy looks like” arose from the crowd in downtown Providence.
Many attendees were students from area public and private schools taking part in a walkout organized by various student groups. They said they wanted to come together to show that even though they’re not old enough to vote, they do have a voice and can make a difference.
“It was amazing to see that a group of youth can do so much,” said Central High School senior Tatiana Hall.
“I didn’t expect this many people to be here, but the more, the merrier,” added Classical sophomore Federico Martinez.
Dozens of state and local police officers were on hand to keep watch over the event, along with some adult volunteers.
Even though school leaders did not sanction the walkout, Providence Public School District spokesperson Laura Hart said earlier this week that students who participate will receive an unexcused absence.
“We’re serious about our education, but we’re serious about future, we’re serious about what happens in the next four years,” said Hall.
Hart confirmed Friday afternoon that more than 1,000 students from 10 public schools took part in the walkout. With just over 300 participants, Classical High School had the biggest representation, according to Hart.
In a statement, Hart said Superintendent Christopher Maher wished to thank school administration, teachers, and city police for their response to the walkout.
“He also wishes to thank the students who chose to stay at school today and is grateful that those who choose to walk conducted themselves in a respectful and orderly manner.”
Hart said city police also had a presence Friday at the city’s middle schools, adding that two students at that level took part in the walkout.