The presidency of Donald Trump was just seconds old when Vermont activists started protesting it.
At the precise moment Donald Trump raised his hand to take the presidential oath in Washington, D.C., activists were raising their hands and voices, as well, outside City Hall in downtown Burlington, Vermont.
Citizens on the opposite side of the spectrum from President Trump were taking what they called “the people’s oath.”
“It was a lot better than staying home sobbing,” said participant Ace McArleton. “I also wanted to come in support and solidarity with our community and stand up for human rights and for people's rights.”
The grassroots version of the presidential oath was a pledge to remain politically active for the next four years.
Participants raised their hands and promised to be watchful and willing to push back against what they see as possible threats from the new administration to health care access, diversity, the environment, and other concerns.
“All of the ideals that Trump campaigned on and represents are not normal for this country,” said Llu Mulvaney-Stanak, the organizer of the demonstration. “It's like we slid back 100 years in many ways.”
Vermont is one of the bluest of the nation’s blue states, and went dominantly for Hillary Clinton in November’s presidential election.
At a different gathering, Democrats came together outside the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier for what was billed as an “un-auguration” rally.
“On this inauguration day, it's tempting to turn off the TV, disconnect and wait for the storm to pass,” said Conor Casey of the Vermont Democratic Party. “But with so much at stake, that's simply not an option.”
In his inaugural address, President Trump said he would work to be a president for all Americans. The Vermont activists promised to keep up their efforts to hold him to that promise.
Other demonstrations were planned in Burlington Friday evening.
Saturday afternoon, the activism will continue with the women’s march on Montpelier. That event, in solidarity with a women-led march on Washington, D.C., starts at 1 pm at Montpelier High School and will wind its way to the Vermont Statehouse.