- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2017

Protesters barricading one of the Inauguration Day entry points Friday refused to let through an elderly woman who said she was having a medical emergency.

Judi Neal, from San Dimas, California, tried to get through the barricade on E and 10th streets in northwest D.C. in order to receive assistance from authorities on the other side, but was turned away by hundreds of protesters linked arm-in-arm stretching across the street.

“I’m about ready to have a heart attack, OK, so I need assistance, and they won’t let me through,” Ms. Neal, who did not give her age, told The Washington Times.

Pacing up and down the line in a bright yellow poncho, Ms. Neal tried to alert protesters that she was having a medical emergency and needed to pass by, but they did not appear to hear her as they repeatedly chanted, “Go another way.”

One demonstrator in a camouflage jacket blew a loud horn at Ms. Neal as she attempted to reason with the mob.

Police and other personnel were mostly congregated on the other side of the human barrier, where the entry point into the inauguration grounds was located.

Ms. Neal was one of several people turned away Friday afternoon by the crowd protesting the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Robert Burgner, from Annapolis, Maryland, said he was in jeopardy of missing just his second presidential inauguration in 40 years after he couldn’t get through the barrier.

“They have no right to impede the flow of traffic,” Mr. Burgner, 66, said. “No one has that right. And the police aren’t willing to do anything because of conflict. And I understand that.”

Mr. Burgner, who said he was “neutral” during the presidential race and only wanted to celebrate “the peaceful transfer of power,” said the form of protest adopted by the president’s detractors doesn’t help their cause.

“In my experience, this isn’t the way to conduct business,” Mr. Burgner said. “You’re just alienating a lot of folks that could have supported you.”

Scuffles broke out intermittently during the protest. Police shoved their way through the crowd several times to try to restore order as organizers with megaphones occasionally instructed protesters to sit down and resist nonviolently.

The barricade was largely populated by young people, who linked arms to form a human wall across the street between the Hard Rock Café and Washington Welcome Center. Police had set up a barrier blocking traffic for several blocks around the entry point.

Many protesters held signs reading, among other things, “P***y grabs back,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Dump the Racist Rapist.” Their chants included “Love trumps hate,” “Water is life” and “This is what a feminist looks like.”

Mr. Burgner said he couldn’t remember a more violent inaugural.

“[George W.] Bush’s second inauguration wasn’t particularly friendly, but there was nothing this volatile,” he said.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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