- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Hundreds of people turned out Friday in various protests across New Orleans to demonstrate against President Donald Trump being sworn into office.

The day started with an oddly festive and uniquely New Orleans-style of protest: A brass band played mournfully as demonstrators lowered a replica of the Statue of Liberty into a black coffin and began wheeling it through city streets.

The so-called “Jazz Funeral for Lady Liberty” coincided with Friday’s swearing in of Trump as the nation’s 45th president.

The protest drew close to 200 people to Armstrong Park on the edge of the French Quarter. Some carried signs labeling the new president as a racist, a sexist and a liar.

But not everyone was in opposition. Mike Lester, of Holden, was at his French Quarter store, Nawlins Sports on Decatur Street, when he heard about the demonstration and decided to walk over and see what was going on.

Wearing a T-shirt and hat in support of Trump, Lester said such oppositional rallies “do nothing but further divide the country.”

“The election is over,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s time we put partisanship behind us and go out there and show support for the president. It’s time to come together and move on.”

Later Friday hundreds of people turned out at Duncan Plaza - across from City Hall - to demonstrate. Some carried signs that said “Traitor Trump,” or expressed concern for workers’ rights and deportation.

“My message is we need to be solid together. It’s time to stand up and make your voices heard,” John Antonucci, a demonstrator, told WWL-TV (http://bit.ly/2j51ABD ).

The New Orleans Advocate (http://bit.ly/2jze42L ) reported that New Orleans police arrested 15 people after anti-Donald Trump protests.

Protests were scheduled to continue Saturday. “Women’s marches” are set for New Orleans and the Shreveport-Bossier area, coinciding with the Women’s March in Washington.

___

Associated Press writer Kevin McGill contributed to this report.

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