European Cities Emphasize Importance Of Unity On Inauguration Day

Trump promised to bring the country together; this is one way to start.

The long-anticipated inauguration ceremony on Friday was met with fierce protests outside and around the heavily secured area in Washington, D.C. Americans travelled from all across the country to attend the event, and just as many came to voice their opposition to Donald Trump's swearing-in. 

But reactions to Inauguration Day were not limited to D.C., nor the country. America's neighbors across the Atlantic sent a pointed message to the 45th president with large banners that read "Build Bridges Not Walls," in a reference to Trump's proposal to erect a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

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In dozens of cities across the continent, activists and observers unfurled banners along bridges and on the streets to urge unity and cooperation, joining the chorus of resistance to a border wall whose symbolism cannot be denied. As Costica Bradatan wrote in the New York Times

Walls are built for various reasons and they serve different purposes, but their function is always fundamentally the same: to create divisions, to prevent people and ideas from moving freely, and to legitimize differences.

Trump's presidential campaign was predicated on his tough immigration stance and "build the wall" became one of the more popular chants at his campaign rallies. 

But many valiantly pushed back against what they labeled a divisive, xenophobic message. Latinos, progressives, and immigration advocates called instead for stronger protections for undocumented immigrants and their families, and showed their support at demonstrations and through social media campaigns.

While it's yet unclear how realistic a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will be, Trump has signaled that he will not back down from his promise. But as plainly displayed on Inauguration Day, calls for the president to "build bridges, not walls" will continue to echo across the many nations that make up some of this country's most powerful allies. 

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