Donald J. Trump was sworn in the 45th President of the United States on Friday (20 January) and his inauguration was immediately followed by what some believe was the biggest one-day protest in the US history as an estimated 2.9 million march. Millions of women have taken to the streets from New York to Los Angeles and all in between. The American women were supported by the women around the world who gathered in cities including Frankfurt, Berlin, London, Sydney, Paris and Barcelona, rallying primarily in support of women’s rights but also for broader issues such as multiculturalism and the protection of the environment.
Mr. Trump’s inauguration, however, also gave boost to Europe’s anti-immigrant and anti-establishment politicians who gathered in Rhineland the same day to launch an election year that they hope would topple the European Union. The rightest leaders from France, Germany, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands used their meeting to ridicule German Chancellor Angela Merkel and congratulate Mr. Trump even by directly referring to his inauguration speech.
“My friends, this year will be the year of the people – the year in which the voice of the people is finally heard,” said Geert Wilders, who wants to become the Dutch prime minister in March elections despite having been found guilty by a Dutch court in December of triggering discrimination. Marine Le Pen, the French nationalist leader, commented that “2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world awoke. 2017, I am sure, will be the year in which the peoples of the European continent awake.”
The official stance of the EU leaders could best be characterized by the “wait and see“ approach, which was also mostly shared by the global elite in Davos during the World Economic Forum. EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici, however, predicts more nationalism and protectionism coming from the White House.