NLG Preparing Legal Support for #J20 Inaugural Protests


January 17, 2017

Contact: Tasha Moro
NLG Communications Director
212-679-5100, ext. 15#

NEW YORK—The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is coordinating with the DC NLG Chapter in preparation for anticipated mass protests at the upcoming 58th Presidential Inauguration and related protests taking place January 19-21, 2017.

Large numbers of protestors (and counter-protestors) are expected to converge in the nation’s capital for the swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th U.S. President. As a National Special Security Event (NSSE), the Inauguration events will be accompanied by an intense degree of policing coordinated by over three dozen federal intelligence, law enforcement, and military agencies, with security costs expected to exceed $100 million. The high levels of security and policing at previous NSSEs has in the past led to mass arrests, surveillance of protesters, unconstitutional restrictions of permits and free speech, and intimidating shows of force by police.

“Tens of thousands of people are answering the call to resist the incoming administration at inaugural protests next weekend. As always, the NLG is mobilizing its dedicated team of radical lawyers, legal workers, and law students, to provide the critical legal support infrastructure needed for such large scale demonstrations,” said Maggie-Ellinger Locke, DC NLG Mass Defense Chair.

From the various actions on the day of the inauguration to the Women’s March on Washington planned for January 21st, the NLG is organizing a mass defense infrastructure of Legal Observers (LOs), jail support, and lawyers. LOs will observe protests and document any arrests and potential abuses inflicted on demonstrators by law enforcement. The jail support team will handle hotlines, track arrests, and assist people as they are released. DC-barred attorneys will represent arrestees and do jail visits. Lawyers, legal workers, and law students interested in assisting with legal support should fill out this form to volunteer.

In preparation for the inauguration, DC NLG members have been holding Legal Observer and Know Your Rights trainings in DC, as well as online trainings for those coming from other areas. The NLG also released an analysis of recent trends in protest policing, based on an updated version of the Field Force Operations training manual for crowd control produced by the Department for Homeland Security and FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness.

Learn more about getting involved at the websites and resources below, as well as the NLG Mass Defense Committee page, which includes legal support hotlines by NLG chapters available in additional cities.

Washington, DC Chapter of the NLG & Mass Defense Resources

The NLG Mass Defense Committee was formed in 1968 in response to the wave of protests during that tumultuous time. To support the NLG Mass Defense Fund and the right to protest, please donate at

The National Lawyers Guild was formed in 1937 as the nation’s first racially integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

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