Thousands of people greeted US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their family at the inaugural parade as they arrived at their new home, the White House, following the swearing-in of the new American leader.
Trump and his wife, along with their 10-year old son Barron sat in the armoured presidential vehicle the Beast, leaving the US Capitol after the swearing-in and traditional luncheon for a mile and a half long inaugural parade drive along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.
People lined the parade route, braving a cold weather and intermittent rain to catch a glimpse of the new First Family and the Vice President Mike Pence and his wife. However, several stands along the parade route were not filled to capacity, signalling less attendance this time around as compared to Obama’s inauguration.
Chanting ‘Trump, Trump’, and ‘USA, USA’, the crowd waved US flags and cheered as Trump’s motorcade made its way past them amid tight security and an army of Secret Service agents escorting the new Commander-in-Chief.
However, the aerial photos taken from Trump’s inauguration ceremony showed that the crowd turned up at his event was significantly less than those who had attended Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, when he became the President for the first time.
Following tradition, Trump and his family got out of their cars and briefly walked the parade route, waving, smiling, clapping and giving a thumbs-up to the crowd lining Pennsylvania Avenue.
Trump’s car stopped at a little distance from the newly opened Trump International Hotel, on the way in the parade route. He got out of the car for a second time closer to the end of the parade route.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, who will be senior adviser in the Trump White House, his sons Don and Eric and their wives and young children also walked along the parade route briefly, waving to the cheering crowds.
Before leaving for the inaugural parade, Trump and Pence and their wives reviewed troops outside US Capitol, part of the pomp and pageantry of the presidential inauguration.
The Beast carrying the President crawled along the parade route as military bands and contingents marched ahead. The Trumps, Pences and their guests then sat in a secured “Viewing Stand” at the end of the parade route around the White House to watch the marching contingents of veterans and serving personnel and school and military bands.
Trump and Pence clapped and saluted as troops and band marched in front of the secured enclosure.
The inaugural parade is part of the festivities surrounding the swearing-in of the new American President along with the early morning Church Service, the Congressional Luncheon and the black-tie balls.
Earlier, Trump’s inauguration also met with protest as hundreds of people clashed with police just blocks away from the parade route. Nearly 100 protesters were arrested near the route of the inaugural parade as they threw stones and other objects at the police.
The police, some in riot gear, had to employ crowd-dispersing sprays. The protesters held banners and shouted slogans and displaced trash cans as police stood in line to prevent them from moving any further ahead. Protesters also lit a limousine on fire and smashed windows of a few stores in the vicinity of the parade route.
(With additional inputs from PTI)