While Joe Biden's big day went smoothly and with no signs of violence, there were a few tense scenes on the streets of Washington, DC.

There was a brief confrontation within sight of the Capitol during the inauguration, as a small group of men with extreme homophobic, Islamophobic and anti-feminist views preached at passers by through a megaphone.

Some members of the crowd were infuriated, and the two groups spent several minutes sledging each other before a few dozen police officers showed up to defuse the situation.

Suffice to say, it was not a polite discussion.

The extremists moved across the road at that point. One of the men they had been arguing with turned his attention to the police, shouting at them about the Capitol riot on January 6 and implying they'd done too little in response.

"Where the f*** were you in January 6?" he asked, singling out individual officers.

The crowd eventually dispersed.

Protesters with offensive signs caused a scene.
Protesters with offensive signs caused a scene.

 

Later there was another heated argument in the street, this time in front of the police barricade on New Jersey Avenue.

Nick Chimera Jr, a 23-year-old from New York, engaged in something of a shouting match over abortion policy with a woman named Debbie Anthony.

It got particularly fiery when Mr Chimera said he was not a Republican and abortion was not a partisan issue.

"That's not what you were saying before," Ms Anthony told him, referring to earlier remarks that I didn't witness.

"What was I saying before?" he asked.

"You're a liar. You were saying this administration is the worst, and it will kill and kill," she replied (meaning the Biden administration).

"You're right. It's the most pro-abortion administration we have ever seen," he said.

It went on for some time, and the crowd surrounding the pair grew restless. Several people shouted at Mr Chimera to "put a mask on" if he was so pro-life.

 

I caught up with both of them afterwards.

"If they're going to make it illegal, they need to make it easier to have the baby and put it up for abortion. But they don't do that," Ms Anthony said.

"They're trying to make it as simple as, 'Oh, you're for abortion.' No I'm not. I'm not for abortion. But that's how they get us. That's how they say we're the bad people. We're not. I'm a Christian."

She said she had shown up to support Kamala Harris, revealing she was related to women's suffrage icon Susan B. Anthony.

"I'm out here because I want to support Kamala Harris being the first female VP. Susan B. Anthony fought all of her life," Ms Anthony said.

"Now it's come to fulfilment. The first female Vice President of the United States."

Mr Chimera said he had come to Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day because he valued debate.

"I like talking to people. This is a very historic day, an important day, and I think these kinds of conversations like the one we just had - it's important for these things to happen," he said.

Originally published as Tense scenes on the streets of Washington


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