During the fifty-seventh inaugural ceremony, an estimated 1 million individuals enjoyed a weekend of festivities to usher in President Barack Obama’s second term. The crowd brought in supporters,as well as dissenting activists of all types, including participants from the Occupy movement, and other autonomous activist organizations from around the country. From Sunday January 20th to Monday the 21st, the anarchist community in particular filled the streets of Washington DC.
On Sunday, local activists held a conference titled: "Nevermind the Inauguration: A Festival of Resistance",that invited several well-known authors, journalists and representatives of local anarchist organizations alike to discuss topics such as democracy, anarchist social movements in general, as well as the Occupy movement and the important role that anarchism has played within the movement itself. After the conference, a spontaneous Black Bloc of approximately fifty individuals marched through Chinatown and conducted strategic direct actions by breaking the windows of at least two bank branches and a Hooter's restaurant. Participants in the bloc targeted power and property, not people. Nobody was harmed, nor did any arrests occur during this action.
On Monday, during the event titled Unauguration 2013-REJECT THE ESTABLISMENT!, activists from other cities joined the anarchist community from the DC area, prompted by a call to action made by the Chesapeake Earth First! and Anarchist Alliance DC (AADC). This call to action was organized in order to mobilize local activists and make a public appearance during the Inaugural weekend, an important weekend for these anti-capitalist organizations to make their voices to be heard by the general public. During this march, almost 70 activists marched through the streets chanting anti-government, anti-capitalist and anti-war slogans, holding banners stating that stated such things as "No War but the Class War!" and "No Fracking Mother Earth". During this march, activists were matched by an equal number of police officers.
According to Richelle, a spokesperson from Chesapeake Earth First!, "The United States Government has repeatedly shown its willingness to use its resources, including its police power, to support and reinforce corporations as they engage in heedless and widespread destruction. This Administration in particular has shown either unconcern or explicit support for practices ranging from mountaintop removal, hydraulic fracturing, and the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, to drone warfare and mass surveillance of its citizens." This message clearly articulates why the anarchist community chose to make their presence heard during the inaugural ceremony.
Participants remained peaceful during the march until the police attempted to seize AADC's banner that stated "Without Government, We Can Move Forward". At this point, activists began to walk against traffic as they proudly waved their black flags and banners to make a statement about how the authorities were immorally trying to silence the protestors and their messages.
Activists also distributed over 1,000 copies of informational zines, some of which were titled: "Don't Vote-Organize!", "Save Our Planet From the Tar Sands and the XL Pipeline!", and "What is Anarchism?".
According to the anarchist community, Monday’s march was noteworthy for other reasons as well, in that it had been several years since this kind of direct call to action had resonated throughout the anarchist community in Washington DC. The message, which was dispersed widely via social networking, called for the mobilization by stating: "Unaguration [get it?] 2013! This is a call to all anarcho-syndicalists, anarcho-LGBTQs, anarcha-feminists, green/eco-anarchists, anarcho-punks, collectives and affinity groups from other cities, and all of our other fabulous, beautiful allies. As you know, this is the day on which The State will hold its grotesque ceremony inaugurating another term of another puppet/President."
Nancy M. an anarchist activist and spokesperson from AADC proclaimed,"We are here to share who we are and what anarchism means to us. As an aboveground group, it is possible for us to yell our message, but we recognize that an aboveground group is incomplete without the underground parts of our community. I believe this is a step towards getting our radical/anarchist community to know each other and work with each other one more time. Believe me, it has not been easy after our local community was almost slandered by provocateurs, some liberals, Reformists and others took advantage of these circumstances."