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Is Trump blocking protests at his inauguration? Not so much

The National Park Service has booked federal land throughout the National Mall in advance of the 2017 presidential inauguration — a move that some have taken to mean that President-elect Donald Trump is blocking attempts to protest his first days in office.

However, the NPS and the Presidential Inaugural Committee work together to to map out inauguration events first, then permits will be distributed to protesters after, the Washington Post explained.

A story in the Guardian first claimed that federal officials had blocked permits for protesters, including a massive women’s march on Washington planned for the Washington Monument.

That report fueled Internet outrage over federal officials’ and Trump’s supposed attempt to deny the protesters their right to assemble.

Donald Trump files a petition to block all protests before, during and after the inauguration. Does the 1st amendment mean nothing?

— zellie (@zellieimani) December 9, 2016

But the women’s march, and other planned inauguration protests like it, could still end up being permitted for the location they want, National Review reported:

If the inaugural committee does not want to use the Lincoln Memorial, the women’s march (or other protests) could still take place there. This year, such a large amount of protesters are applying for First Amendment Permits that it has complicated the process. With about 20 groups all seeking to protest on federal land, it is apparently taking longer than normal to sort out, but there is no federal effort to “block” protesters, nor is there evidence that Trump is trying to shut down anyone’s First Amendment rights. You can chalk up that outrage to misleading reports.

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