Donald Trump inauguration: who boycotted president’s ceremony - and what happened during anti-Trump protests?

Millions are expected to watch president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration - but how will it compare to Trump and Barack Obama’s viewing figures?

As the world awaits the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden, there has been a lot of talk about the induction of the man he's replacing.

A limited crowd is expected to be in attendance as Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the US on Wednesday 20 January 2020, amid fears of another attack on the US Capitol.

The scene will look very different to four years ago to the day when around half a million people gathered in Washington DC as Donald Trump took the oath of office on 20 January 2017.

Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate near the National Mall following the inauguration of president Donald Trump on 20 January 2017 in Washington, DC. (Pic: Getty Images)

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However Trump’s inauguration didn’t exactly go smoothly, with anti-Trump protests errupting across the US that day. Here’s what happened.

How many people attended Trump's inauguration?

Inauguration Day is a carefully planned and detailed event involving concerts, the swearing in ceremony, congressional luncheon, parade, inaugural balls and finished with a prayer service.

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Around 1.8 million people attended the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009. A million people attended in 2013. And Trump had high hopes of reaching seven figures in 2017, on top of the many viewing at home.

It is estimated that between 300,000 and 600,000 people attended Washington to witness his inauguration in person - higher than either of George W Bush’s initiations in 2001 and 2005.

Trump's inauguration attracted a TV audience of 30.6 million people in the US - more than Obama's second inauguration (20.6 million) but less than his first (38 million).

A stream of Trump's initiation was viewed more than 6.8 million times on Twitter - more than any other video in the site's decade-long history.

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How many people boycotted Trump’s inauguration?

Trump's swearing in was boycotted by 50 democrats after a feud between the then-president-elect and John Lewis, a congressman and civil rights activist.

Lewis claimed Trump's election victory was illegitimate due to Russia's alleged interference and stated he was joining a boycott alongside Democratic colleagues.

Trump hit back on Twitter, claiming the Georgia lawmaker was "all talk, talk, talk - no action or results" - which prompted a wave of outrage in defence of Lewis.

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It led to more democrats saying they would skip the event, while others gave different reasons not to show such as Trump's comments about women.

Are inauguration boycotts common?

Trump is a divisive figure but a boycott of a president's inauguration from some members of the opposition party isn't new in US politics.

In 1973, 80 lawmakers missed Richard Nixon's swearing in.

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Representative Lewis also missed Bush's 2001 inauguration. Trump offered the seats "to the people" but eyewitnesses on the day saw many empty chairs in Washington.

Were there any protests at Trump’s inauguration?

On the day of his inauguration, anti-Trump protestors from nearly 200 activist groups and organisations including Disrupt J20, who sought to bring "widespread civil resistance", took to the streets of Washington DC.

They staged permitted protests, sit-ins and anti-capitalist marches harnessed by a "force that can have an impact on Trump’s ability to claim a mandate, setting a tone of resistance for the coming years", its organisers said.

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The vast majority of protests were peaceful but there were some exceptions.

Among the disturbance a limo was set on fire, shop windows smashed in and street bins ripped from the ground as protestors clashed with police who used tear gas and stun grenades to contain the crowds.

How many people were arrested?

More than 200 people were arrested and charged, with some facing up to 70 years in prison for unprecedented felony riot and conspiracy charges.

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Lengthy legal battles ensued for some but ultimately more than 200 cases were dismissed, 16 faced trial but weren't convicted and 21 defendants pleaded guilty.

One person served four months in prison for rioting and assault on a police officer.

The remaining 39 defendants awaiting trial had their rioting charges dropped by US federal prosecutors in July 2018 - 18 months after their initial arrests.

“A lawsuit against Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department alleging excessive force and invasive body searches during the arrests is still making its way through the Superior Court in DC more than three years after it was filed,” a report in the Independent also states.

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And, as the US prepares for Joe Biden’s inauguration, the world waits to see what action - if any - pro-Trump campaigners will take in a heavily guarded Capitol, after the attacks on Wednesday 6 January.