As Donald Trump was being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, people around the world reacted with varying degrees of emotion. There was elation and hopefulness. Defiance and despair. Here is a sample of those reactions from four cities on both sides of the Atlantic.
The TV reporter stood in a power stance, his back to the U.S. Embassy and the 10 riot police officers resting on their shields, and pronounced this a major day for Mexico.
“Donald Trump is wildly unpopular in Mexico, where today is being seen as a real turn for the worse in the country’s fortunes,” he said loud enough in English that people were stopping on the sidewalk to watch.
And maybe it will be. The Mexican protest machine, though, was slow to rise on this nearly cloudless Friday morning in Mexico City.
Across the street, where Julia Klug, 46, wearing what appeared to be a homemade American-flag jumpsuit and matching scout cap, was holding a “United States extermination camp against Latinos” sign with President Trump’s name below a swastika, cameramen outnumbered protesters at least 3 to 1.
On the steps of the Angel of Independence statue in the middle of the traffic circle, the people who had put a Trump head on a stake had to share space with the hunger strikers who were opposed to an increase in gasoline prices.
Some passersby stopped to listen to the man with the megaphone in front of the “In the name of humanity we refuse to accept an American fascist” banner, but others seemed just as interested in the black-and-white photographs of the Beatles and Cantinflas being sold on the pavement.
For Mexico, it’s been a long and wearying year of Donald Trump. And Arturo Gracia Mayen, getting his shoes shined next to the riot officers, saw no reason to be optimistic about the year to come.
“He’s seen as a Hitler type, because he wants to close the borders to jobs and progress. He doesn’t want to cooperate with Mexicans,” said Gracia, a 49-year-old lawyer. “If American companies leave, we have to open ourselves to the Asian economies. To look for new horizons.”
— Joshua Partlow
This is an organization town, and Donald Trump has dedicated himself to smashing the system. So his inauguration Friday was greeted with sadness, concern and even despair in the home of the European Union and NATO.
In the Beaux-Arts center of the city, more than 1,000 people turned out on the Place de la Monnaie to protest his presidency, to defend the transatlantic alliance he has vowed to upend and to join in solidarity with the Women’s March scheduled for Saturday in Washington.
In a city where many people work for vast organizations that devote themselves to tearing down borders and bolstering international alliances, Trump’s arrival in Washington threatens the ideals many have devoted their careers to upholding. And it gives sustenance to the anti-immigrant, anti-establishment forces that are challenging mainstream leaders in elections this year in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
“The atmosphere is one of great uncertainty,” said Antonio Fernandez, a Spanish citizen who manages research grants at an office of the European Commission and took part in the protest. “He seems to be determined to undermine the European Union and everything it represents.”
In part because of Trump, in part because of the British vote to leave the E.U. — a step that helped fuel Trump’s insurgent campaign — “I don’t know if the European Union is going to be here in 10 years,” Fernandez said.
Other protesters in Brussels were simply concerned about Trump’s policies toward women, Muslims and world affairs. More than a thousand people chanted, banged on drums and vowed to oppose Trump for the next four years. When Trump was sworn in — at 6 p.m. Brussels time — a howl rose from the crowd.
“It’s a topic in every work lunch,” said Monique Gerwers, who works in internal communications at a polyurethane manufacturer about 15 miles north of Brussels. “It’s so sad to have someone like Trump in control.”
— Michael Birnbaum
In an upscale loft space in downtown Moscow’s Central Telegraph building, Russian politicians, political analysts, hangers-on and activists were toasting Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday evening, applauding as he took the oath of office to become the 45th president of the United States.
“It’s going to be a lot of action, drive, excitement,” said Dmitry Nosov, a sturdily built former member of parliament, who wore a gray-checked blazer with a bear pin. “Not dull like it has been.”
There was champagne. A translator narrated Trump’s speech live. It felt as if half of Moscow’s foreign press corps was there.
All of this was brought together by Maria Katasonova, a right-wing political activist who has become one of Russia’s most vocal Trump supporters. During an election-night party, she unveiled her new “triptych” — an oil painting of Trump, Putin and the French right-wing politician Marine Le Pen, all of whom she admires for “going against the system.”
Some Russian businesses have been using Trump’s image to drum up sales, and Katasonova is no exception. Images of her paintings went viral, and now she’s selling reproductions, she said in an interview Friday evening. When asked by a journalist how much the painting on display costs, she said: “Let’s discuss that after the event.”
It is hard to say whether the Russian establishment is happier that Trump won or that Clinton lost. But some are still sounding notes of restraint.
“The idea that Trump is our guy is not the reality,” said Alexey Kondratyev, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament. “And the sunny prognoses by some that he’s going to go in the direction of Russia in cases where it goes against American interests is just an illusion.”
— Andrew Roth
To send Donald Trump a message from across the Atlantic on the day of his inauguration, a group of about 30 volunteers picked one of the most dramatic settings in all of London: Tower Bridge.
The crew assembled before dawn on a bitterly cold London morning.
During a misty sunrise that saw Tower Bridge’s gothic-style towers bathed in orange light, the volunteers unfurled a banner that read: “Build Bridges Not Walls.”
Some of the motorists crossing the span in heavy morning traffic responded to the demonstration with supportive toots.
The group behind the demonstration said that about 200 bridges around the world were draped in banners, in cities as diverse as Auckland, New Zealand, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In London, many of the banners bore different messages.
Anyone looking skyward from a boat traveling on the Thames on Friday morning would have spotted a banner reading “Queer Solidarity Smashes Borders” on Vauxhall Bridge, one reading “Migrants Welcome Here” on Westminster Bridge and a call to “Unite against Islamophobia” on Southwark Bridge.
“We’re trying to spread feelings of hope and positive messages here on this day that is going to be very hard for a lot of people,” said Claire Ryder, 33, a history student with the campaign group Bridges Not Walls. She woke at 5 a.m. Friday to help kick off the demonstration on Tower Bridge. She is also one of the organizers of London’s Women’s March, which on Saturday is expected to draw tens of thousands onto the streets of London.
A native of Cleveland, Ryder moved to Britain last fall. She said she was keen to do something to “help change the conversation and move forward.”
— Karla Adam