Why you should care

Because the world is watching a democracy in transition.

Andrea Garcia-Vargas
San Francisco, Calif.
Saturday, Jan. 21, 8pm ET

A hard rain’s falling in San Francisco, but thousands have turned out. Some images from the march:

Nat Roe
Salt Lake City, Utah
Saturday, Jan. 21, 7:25pm ET

Update from the clean air protest in Utah: The road to clean air is paved with ice and smog. The protest happened within the Capitol Building because the turnout was lower than expected, perhaps due to the weather. Still, a couple hundred people rallied inside the building.

utah first

Source NAT ROE/OZY

utah

Source NAT ROE/OZY

The glitterati at Sundance, in Park City, are getting tons of press _ but just 45 minutes away in Salt Lake, clean air activists held a peaceful rally at the capitol building, braving the many inches of snow to get there. Members of native American groups, Utah natives and even a Democratic State Senator turned out, along with many children.

In Salt Lake City, this time of year sees “inversions,” in which polluted air becomes trapped because of the geography (Salt Lake City sits in between mountains). These activists chanted “Black Lungs Matter” held signs proclaiming that smut was less of an issue in Salt Lake City than smog. They were referring to porn winning the label of “public health crisis” in Utah in 2016. Many we spoke to today hope that the EPA continues to regulate emissions and that the Utah government will enforce those rules.

Andrea García-Vargas
San Francisco, California
Saturday, Jan. 21, 7:17pm ET

Update from the Women’s March in San Francisco, the Peak Bay area: There are at least 1,000 people here, with a lot of energy and a helicopter overhead. There’s a stage with a speaker, and organizers had American Sign Language interpreters on hand as well as space for wheelchair access. One Muslim woman on stage spoke about the need to educate about Islam, about how her daughters have had their headscarves pulled off, her sons called terrorists, and how many Americans don’t know a Muslim person while even more don’t really know what Islam as a religion actually is.

Andrea García-Vargas
San Francisco, California
Saturday, Jan. 21, 6:37pm ET

It is packed here. It’s raining and people formed a human chain near City Hall because there are so many people.

Alex Hotz
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 6:28pm ET

Images taken by OZY’s Alex Hotz from D.C.’s Women March earlier today:

first

Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

second

Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

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Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

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Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

Nat Roe
Salt Lake City, Utah
Saturday, Jan. 21, 6:02pm ET

Salt Lake City’s clean air protest.

salt lake city

Source NAT ROE/OZY

Nick Fouriezos & Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 5:51pm ET

As marchers overwhelmed the city, the number of issues floated among the hundreds of thousands present were almost just as overwhelming: access to health care, abortion, quality education and equal pay, among other common causes. Protestors showed their displeasure with an election they felt highlighted racism by raising signs lauding Black Lives Matter and LGBT rights. But as all those common concerns were raised, some wondered how to sort through them all.

trump hotel

Source TRACY MORAN/OZY

Susan Minushkin, from Maryland, was protesting because she feared Trump “undermines the foundation of our democracy.” She said the challenge would be where to go from here: “That’s my quandary. I know we want to keep the middle class, particularly mobilized, but you also need to affect change.”

Andrea Jacobs, an education policy organizer from Philly, said the key is that people “feel like the issues are so big – pick one that you’re passionate about.” Even with a Republican majority in Congress, activists throughout the day mentioned education, criminal justice and even health care as areas to find common ground in the upcoming years.

trump lovers

Joy, a pro-Trump Filipino immigrant.

Source TRACY MORAN/OZY

Easily lost in the sea of pink hats and anti-Trump hats was Joy, a Filipino immigrant who said she legally came to the United States and who was touting a Make America Great Again hat with a Trump button. Describing herself as a “right-leaning libertarian, hardcore Rand and Ron Paul supporter,” Joy said she had gone to the inauguration with the hopes of meeting fellow Redditors from “The Donald” subreddit. Democrats did a great job organizing though, she said. “I even told my friends that I like the pink hats I wish I could wear them, they are very cute.” She said she felt Trump’s tax plan would put more money into the pockets of ordinary people and that he would serve as a wrecking ball to a Washington establishment that had too long ignored their needs. Surprisingly, she also welcomed the extra attention paid to Trump, and hoped it would spur the rise of a more combative press. “I like the guy but it doesn’t mean he gets a free pass.”

Jack Doyle
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 5:21pm ET

trump hotel

Source JACK DOYLE/OZY

dcmetro

Source JACK DOYLE/OZY

dc mall

Source JACK DOYLE/OZY

dc

Source JACK DOYLE/OZY

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 5:03pm ET

I’ve never seen the mall choked like this. No violence and just an incredible sense of unity. But no one had any clue what they would do to keep today’s spirit alive. In that sense it was an umbrella event – lots of reasons and causes — and may prove hard to capitalize on. Aerial footage of yesterday on the mall versus today and today was far busier. Lady next to me said, “We did it ladies.”

Cameo George
New York City
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2:23pm ET

Alex Hotz
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 1:04pm ET

A round-up of images from OZY’s video editor shot earlier today at the Women’s March in D.C.

third

Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

fifth

Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

Nick Fouriezos
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 1:01pm ET

Taking a break from the crowded scene at 7th Ave and E Street, museum conservator Kate Garland was sipping water at Sei Restaurant, a sushi spot, and said that she had flown here from Kansas City. “How can you not do something?” The issues that had motivated her in the past year were her concerns over immigration and equal pay.

Her companion, Jerry, who asked his last name not to be used, said the sheer number of people here could play an important role in affecting policy change. “They’ll look out the window and count the amount of people who care about the issue, who are on the ground and that will cause them to think about the next election — because that seems to be what they’re primarily concerned about.” He said now that Republicans control the U.S. Congress and presidency there is “no excuse” to start solving the nation’s problems. “The danger of Trump is not his moral character,” Jerry said, “but his lack of knowledge on how to fulfill his campaign promises.”

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 12:22pm ET

A shot from the Women’s March in D.C. The Mall is awash in pink cat hats.

A view toward the U.S. Capitol Building.

A view toward the U.S. Capitol Building.

Source TRACY MORAN/OZY

Nick Fouriezos & Alex Hotz
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 12:22pm ET

Armed with homemade signs and pink hats, marchers rallied round 3rd Street and Independence Avenue, though streets swelled for blocks away on the foggy Saturday morning. The most prominent stated concerns revolved around access to abortion and women’s health care, the reported closeness between Trump and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as well as the selection of certain controversial Cabinet picks – including that of charter-school proponent Betsy Voss as education chief.

Women's March in D.C.

Women’s March in D.C.

Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

Tracy Moran, Alex Hotz & Nick Fouriezos
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 12:15pm ET

The Women’s March in D.C. seems far calmer than yesterday, so far, and there are no police in riot gear in the areas we’ve walked through. The crowds are happy, singing songs, shouting chants. It’s a positive vibe. And the numbers — which include groups from as far away as Seattle and reportedly Toronto — seem impressive. D.C. police estimate 500,000 attendees.

Protesters at the D.C.'s Women's March.

Protestors at the D.C.’s Women’s March.

Source TRACY MORAN/OZY

Many issues are being covered today, from reproductive rights to equality generally. Women are arguing that we should use the power of the purse. There are lots of anti-Trump posters and chants, but also lots on great female leaders and figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

More women, though many men, too, march through Washington, D.C.

More women, though many men, too, march through D.C.

Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

The Women's March in D.C.

The Women’s March in D.C.

Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

Alex Hotz & Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Saturday, Jan. 21, 11:09am ET

Our reporters note the crowds for today’s Women’s March in D.C. seem to be larger than the inauguration yesterday. No official attendance numbers are out, yet.

The Women's March in Washington, D.C.

Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

Source ALEX HOTZ/OZY

Gloria Steinem garnered big cheers from the crowd after she spoke earlier this morning.

Fiona Zublin
Lisbon, Portugal
Saturday, Jan. 21, 10:38am ET

There are hundreds of people at the march outside the U.S. Embassy here — both men and women, and Americans and Portuguese people. Portugal’s pre-revolution regime was extremely oppressive of women, and people aren’t eager to have a new global trend that drags them back into institutionalized sexism. They’re chanting and demanding more representation in politics.

Signs in Portuguese say:

Signs in Portuguese say, “If we build a wall, learn to fly” and “RESIST.”

Source FIONA ZUBLIN/OZY

Libby Coleman & Nat Roe
Salt Lake City, Utah
Saturday, Jan. 21, 12:25am ET

Earlier tonight, protestors marched from the Capitol to Wallace Bennett Federal Building in downtown Salt Lake City, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Fuck Trump.” As protestors took to the street, peacefully, so did 10 police cars, a little away from the action. The mostly young crowd included someone dressed up as President Trump with a pig snout. “I’m out here because I have privilege and I need to fuckin’ get off my ass and help change shit that is broken,” said Denise Danley, as a cardboard anti-Trump poster hung in her grip.

Protesters with signs from Salt Lake City's anti-Trump protest.

Protestors from Salt Lake City’s anti-Trump protest.

Source NAT ROE/OZY

Once the protest died down, many discussed going to the clean air protest and the women’s march on Saturday. As we approached one young woman dressed in black and with a gas mask for comment, she sighed: “Nah man, not tonight.”

Alex Hotz
Washington DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 11:30pm ET

And…. here’s a mashup of some scenes from the Washington, DC, as tensions flared after the inauguration.

dc supercut of protest from Ozy Films on Vimeo.

Libby Coleman & Nat Roe
Salt Lake City, Utah
Friday, Jan. 20, 9:19pm ET

We spent the afternoon with activist, artist and provocateur Cat Palmer. She’s an award-winning radical in the Utah art world. One of her most recent projects was “You can’t grab this,” in which she shot nude men and women with statements written on their bodies.

Cat Palmer

Cat Palmer, named Best Feminist in Utah for 2016, has created three rounds of work for a series called Keep Politicians Out of Our Vaginas.

She’s a former Mormon who says she can’t set foot in her children’s elementary school because of the community’s response to her work. “This is a church-run state,” Palmer says, referring to the Latter-Day Saints. In fact, she says, the Facebook page for Governor Gary Herbert once blocked her. She’s optimistic that President Trump’s leadership will lead to backlash and continue the artistic dialogue that has been festering these past few months. Most importantly, she hopes her work will help protect Planned Parenthood, LGBTQ rights and people of color.

Cameo George
New York, NY
Friday, Jan. 20, 8:00pm ET

A small, inconspicuous group of young Latinos with a projector used the side of a Citibank building at Union Square in downtown Manhattan to make their political statement. Translation: “Donald, you are an asshole.” Not many people seem to have noticed the projection, even though it’s at a major intersection.

giant light projection on a bldg in union square nyc

A two-story evaluation — blunt and unambiguous.

Source Cameo George/OZY

Neil Parmar
Toronto, Canada
Friday, Jan. 20, 7:32pm ET

An update from Ryerson University: A fire alarm went off, and the town hall got cut short when attendees had to evacuate.

Two men wearing those famous red hats with MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN in white writing claimed to be Americans but didn’t want to answer many of my questions. When asked if they supported Trump, they replied, “Fuck, yeah!” Then one of them pointed toward the town hallers and noted, “This is a breeding ground for social-progressive bullshit.”

They left, but the next-gen group of socialist students gathered under light rain to vote on whether to continue their soapbox-style speeches outside or to move them to a pub. It came down to a close vote, by hand count, but the popular majority won: Carry on in the rain.

Theo Ellin Ballew
Mexico City, Mexico
Friday, Jan. 20, 6:58pm ET

It’s been a big couple of weeks for protests in Mexico City and throughout the country due to the sudden and steep increases in gasoline prices. By comparison, the crowd assembled today outside the American Embassy here in the Mexican capital was tiny. That is to say, only a couple of thousand people showed up.

It’s been a beautiful day, but storm clouds are starting to form, the way they did in the American capital. The crowd is lead by members of workers’ unions who are wrapped in red and purple flags. Behind them, the crowd ranges from local families to largely white, well-dressed North American hipsters.

Signs read “The Nightmare Has Begun,” “Yankees Get Out” and “No to Trump and No to Peña.” There are two American flags: one sewn to a gay pride flag and another covered with a black swastika. Still, the most prominent chant rings through the crowd as follows: “Gringos y latinos en la lucha siempre unidos.” In other words, “Americans and Latinos, forever united in the fight.”

Neil Parmar
Toronto, Canada
Friday, Jan. 20, 6:53pm ET

Bernie’s back — at least in spirit. At a town hall at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, a panel of speakers tipped their proverbial hats to their favorite Democratic socialist senator from south of the border.

ryerson university

Union reps and other Canadians at this town hall-style meeting at Toronto’s Ryerson University seem to miss the Bernie Sanders message.

Source Neil Parmar/OZY

Mike Palecek, the national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, gave a passionate plea for the need to organize an alternative, radically progressive voice and give people “hope that they can change society and this system. If we don’t do that, there will be the rise of Trump-style politics in this country,” Palecek said. “The Donald Trumps of the world will gain an echo here — and we’re starting to see it leak into the Conservative leadership campaign.”

Sean Braswell
Fayetteville, NC
Friday, Jan. 20, 6:50pm ET

Jim Hawkins, 61, of Fayetteville, N.C., listened to President Trump’s inaugural address on the radio and is now out gun shopping. He says the new president reminds him of some of the NCOs (non-commissioned officers) he served under during his 21 years in the army: not the most tactful guy in the world, but someone who can get the job done. Hawkins wants an America that is self-sustaining again with strong borders and a small government and believes that Trump could be the guy who could do it. “We’ve had nothing but politicians in office for Lord knows how long,” he says. “At least Trump has been successful in business, and someone who has made that much money must be doing something right.” Hawkins also likes Trump’s interest in strengthening the military and hopes that four years from now America will be more like it was around 1983–84 under President Ronald Reagan, when he says his army pay jumped about 20 percent. “When Reagan came in … boom, everything changed. Life just got better,” he recalls. “It was about time.”

Libby Coleman & Nat Roe
Salt Lake City, Utah
Friday, Jan. 20, 4:57pm ET

We stumbled on a house with an END CAPITALISM banner strung across the facade. As we walked to the porch, the place seemed almost abandoned, with graffiti and dust covering every surface. Ella, an apparent 20-something who came to the door, seemed skeptical of journalists. The house? An anarchist collective named Boing! While Utah overall sent its six electoral votes to Trump, Salt Lake County went blue in favor of Hillary. The group’s values are painted on a blue door, decrying sexism, racism and more. Inside, the housemates were still having breakfast (although it was nearly 3 p.m. here) after a long night of creating anti-Trump art for a rally in Utah tonight at the Wallace Bennett Federal Building. The signs read: “Fuck white supremacy” and “Fuck all politicians.” There are plenty of spray-painted cardboard signs showing Trump with red X’s over his head. After a quick chat, we were hustled out, but our hosts promised that we can meet up at tonight’s rally. Stay tuned for our coverage of that event.

endcapitalism

Anarchists who live in this Salt Lake City house promise to be out in full force tonight at a downtown rally.

Source Nat Roe/OZY

Nick Fouriezos
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 4:56pm ET

Riots erupted across Washington D.C., beginning earlier on Inauguration Day with the smashing of windows at downtown businesses, from a Starbucks to McDonalds and Bank of America, and escalating until protestors set fire to a limo, among other things. Police used pepper spray to open up parts of the crowd so emergency crews could get through, and, near 13th and K streets – just a few blocks from the White House – about 600 protestors had gathered. A band began to play as the sun set without a clear end in sight to the protests.

Alexander Hotz
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 4:25pm ET

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 4:01pm ET

fire

According to the public information office of the Washington Metropolitan Police, DC police are authorized to use pepper spray and sting balls (rubber-pellet grenades). The latest arrest number is about 95 protestors.

Source Tracy Moran/OZY

Neil Parmar
Toronto, Canada
Friday, Jan. 20, 3:38pm ET

Could Canada see a Trump-style takedown of Trudeau? That’s the concern some Canadians share, including a small group who rallied “against hate” near the U.S. Consulate General in downtown Toronto earlier today. “I don’t want to see any more of this Trumpism coming out, either in America or Europe with the whole Brexit thing and the far-right politicians there — or here,” says Christopher Cannistraro, a University of Toronto computer science student. “It’s just going to be problematic.”

Canucks are now carefully watching the leadership run for Canada’s Conservative Party, which includes one candidate pushing to screen out immigrants or refugees with anti-Canadian values and another who’s a brash-talking, multimillionaire business mogul. Sound familiar? More on each of them here:

Not everyone sees a change for the worse, though. While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently reshuffled some of his cabinet members ahead of today’s inauguration in D.C., former Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come out predicting that President Donald Trump’s approach to global affairs might lead to a “much more stable American foreign policy,” the CBC reported. “I had a front-row seat for 10 years, up close, watching the United States foreign policy swing back and forth from overreaching global adventures and then to withering self-criticism and retreat. Trump’s approach could avoid both the tendency of the U.S. in one era to overestimate its capabilities and in another era to overstate its limitations.”

Libby Coleman
Salt Lake City, Utah
Friday, Jan. 20, 3:38pm ET

Ken Sanders started tearing up thinking about the new president of the United States. A 65-year-old Utah resident and owner of one of the few independent rare bookstores in Salt Lake City, Sanders has seemingly always leaned left and even was a member of Earth First!, a radical environmental activism group in the ’80s. Sanders, who has a huge gray beard and Santa-like good looks, says of President Donald Trump: “The orange-haired monster doesn’t read books. The orange-haired monster doesn’t drink. The orange-haired monster doesn’t laugh. There may be a rationale for a human being not to drink — in fact, there are a lot of them. But a human being who can’t laugh, doesn’t read? That’s a form of self-impoverishment that boggles my mind.” When President George W. Bush led the country, Sanders held what he called “Bush bashings.” He plans to use his space to hold events that protest Trump, starting in February.

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 3:11pm ET

More flash grenades just went off around 12th and 13th.

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 3:02pm ET

Police are holding their ground at 12th and 13th in DC. Young protestors, many with Occupy-style balaclavas, are walking around with backpacks. Feels like a waiting game for now. Haven’t heard a pressure grenade or seen much smoke now for about 15 minutes. Area is thinning slightly but the chopper overheard and the cops lined with batons remain.

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Protestors and police eye each other at 12th and 13th in DC.

Source Tracy Moran/OZY

Sean Braswell
Fayetteville, NC
Friday, Jan. 20, 2:30pm ET

Zaida and Hector Mendoza, 46 and 45, are spending their Friday afternoon at the firing range at Jim’s Gun Jobbery, instead of watching the inaugural parade. The couple, originally from Puerto Rico but now living in North Carolina where Hector is stationed at Fort Bragg, home to 53,000 U.S. military personnel, are tired of politics (and the election) but hold a rather Trumpian view of an America in decay. The son of a pastor who has served in several locales overseas, Hector claims that the U.S. needs to rebuild on several fronts to remain competitive in the world, from education to morality. The Mendozas are not bothered by the imperfect morality of the vehicle for change, the new POTUS Donald Trump. “Everyone has a dirty past,” they argue. “People change — it’s about looking toward the future.”

Alexander Hotz
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 2:29pm ET

DC police fire tear gas and use pepper spray on protestors. Location: 12th and Massachusetts, not far from the Capitol. Shot by Katrina Kaufman.

Alexander Hotz
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 1:41pm ET

are you great yet

Trump protestors marching in DC.

Source Alexander Hotz/OZY

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 12:47pm ET

putin

Trump protestors take on the identities of global power brokers (from left): Assad of Syria, Putin of Russia and Duterte of the Philippines.

Source Tracy Moran/OZY

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 12:46pm ET

alpaca rancher wants less government interference

This rancher wants less government interference in his business — raising alpacas.

Source Tracy Moran/OZY

Jack Doyle
Columbia, Maryland
Friday, Jan. 20, 12:44pm ET

He’s adopting a presidential tone. As rain began to fall on the Washington Mall, Donald J. Trump moderated his campaign trail bombast for his inaugural address. His speech focused on American workers and families, laying out a plan to bolster the economy and give voice to “forgotten” Americans, lines that drew big cheers from the crowd. The newly sworn-in 45th president made gestures toward unity, saying, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no prejudice.” Though he addressed himself to “the people of the world,” Trump’s message stood in contrast to his recent predecessors’ opening lines: His message was rife with explicitly isolationist sentiment. He vowed to “eradicate radical Islamic terrorism,” urged everyone to “buy American and hire American” and chided predecessors for allegedly neglecting U.S. border security. “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first,” he said – calling back to a campaign slogan with uncomfortable historical echoes as the name of a World War II-era political party that advocated appeasement with Adolf Hitler.

Neil Parmar
Toronto, Canada
Friday, Jan. 20, 12:39pm ET

A small group of peaceful protestors gathers across the street from the U.S. Consulate in downtown Toronto, Ontario.

protestors toronto

Peaceful protestors against Trump in downtown Toronto.

Source Neil Parmar/OZY

Jack Doyle
Columbia, Maryland
Friday, Jan. 20, 11:26am ET

Reuters is reporting pepper spray and stun grenades used on about 500 protestors who smashed windows in downtown DC.

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 11:20am ET

We’ve seen no violence, but AP is reporting pepper spray being used against violent protestors in DC. OZY has talked with marijuana activists and Wall protestors. Most have been loud but respectful of police.

Nick Fouriezos
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan 20 9:30am ET

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 8:56am ET

dcmjmarch

The marijuana advocacy group DCMJ is handing out 4,200 free joints in DC prior to the inauguration.

Source Tracy Moran/OZY

Thousands lined up early today for the DCMJ’s joint pass out in Dupont Circle. Some came just for the free weed, but many were there to advocate for legal marijuana usage — both medicinal and recreational — nationwide. Many were already stoned when we arrived — they’d been in line since 5.30am. The pass-out got under way at 8am, and there was no way the 4,200 joints on offer were going to be enough to go around. But everyone was in good spirits, and most planned to make their way later to the National Mall. It’s legal to carry an ounce of marijuana in the city, DCMJ cofounder Adam Eidinger told the crowd. But smoking on federal land is illegal, he warned. Few seemed deterred, and most said they planned to head down to the inauguration and light up at 4 minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s speech. Eidinger also said the DCMJ can help with any fines that are incurred as a result.

Fiona Zublin
Paris, France
Friday, Jan. 20, 6:56am ET

Here in Paris, while Trump’s inauguration is on the cover of every newspaper, the French are far more consumed by their own political process. Sunday marks the first round of the socialist primary — something of a surprise in itself, as Socialist president François Hollande was expected until last month to represent the party despite the fact that almost everyone hates him. But Benoît Hamon, a super-liberal candidate considered a distant third until recently, is rising in the polls. His proposals to institute a universal basic income and legalize marijuana could mean the socialists shed their super-centrist image — and, if he makes it to the second-round runoff next week, some polls say he’ll beat frontrunner Manuel Valls, in an eerie repeat of the conservative primary, which saw François Fillon come out of nowhere and beat the more established candidates.

Tracy Moran
Washington, DC
Friday, Jan. 20, 6:48am ET

The uniforms are out in force early today around D.C. Riding in from the Virginia suburbs was easy enough, and the roads are quiet in the nation’s capital — so far. But streets around GW are closed to the public, as are several businesses. It all feels like quiet anticipation, and there are more taxis and cop cars than normal. Fire crews have just been waved through, heading toward the Mall, preparing for the big day ahead.

Libby Coleman & Nat Roe
Salt Lake City, Utah
Thursday, Jan. 19, 11:39pm ET

Fifteen minutes away from the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Utahns are lining up for a completely different type of healthcare. A team of five huddle under a white tent they’ve set up in the chilly rain to implement a needle exchange program, which switches out dirty syringes for clean ones to prevent disease like HIV. They also hand out condoms, cookers and cotton balls, and provide referrals for other services. They serve nearly 100 drug users — not all whom are homeless — in just a couple of hours. The exchange takes place on what’s called “The Block” — a couple of blocks where homeless encampments sit just across the street from a bourgie mall. “It’s like a McDonald’s drive-thru, [dealers] pull up to sell,” one volunteer says. Walking down the street, you hear offers to buy crack, meth and heroin — and there’s plenty of mistrust about outsiders.

The outspoken woman whom some call a “friend” is also known as Mindy Vincent, the woman who started this needle exchange. She was raised in Utah and was injecting methamphetamines by the time she was 15. It took more than a decade and a half to become sober, and once she did, her older sister soon fatally overdosed the very first time she used heroin, Vincent says. “I come from a good Mormon family,” she says. But most relatives have struggled with addiction because of prescription drugs. She has seen the opioid crisis in Utah grow in recent years, though perhaps her program will help and expand. She looks to cities that have injection sites with overdose measures on-site as positive examples. Only recently, in 2016, did Utah legalize needle exchange programs. Still no funding was attached to that decision. Jeff Sessions, the proposed nominee for attorney general, has a track record supporting the war on drugs, which Vincent strongly opposes. “[Drug use] is a health issue, not a criminal issue,” she says.

Daniel Malloy
Chapel Hill, NC
Thursday, Jan. 19, 4:25pm ET

Reportedly, there was one moment of tension over the Thanksgiving holiday down east in Kinston, but thankfully Lucy Manning was not there. Some extended family members back home are Donald Trump fans, while the 22-year-old senior at the University of North Carolina decidedly is not, and the holidays were mostly spent avoiding talking about politics. In fact, Manning’s life to this point has mostly dodged the subject.

During the election’s frenzy the graphic design major tuned much of it out, put off by the daily slime. Now, seeing the visceral reaction some of her friends have had, she’s trying to listen more and learn how to act on behalf of people or groups who feel threatened or marginalized. “It will just be a really important time to become more educated and just learn more about the issues and what is changing now that Trump is in office,” she says.

Taylor Mayol
Mountain View, Calif.
Thursday, Jan. 19, 3:17pm ET

It had to be one of the strangest swearings-in of the year.

We’re talking about Adama Barrow, who yesterday was sworn in as the president of the Gambia — at the Gambian embassy in Senegal. Embassy employees climbed to the roof to replace the old, faded flag with a fresh one, symbolizing a new chapter for the West African country. But the fate of the country was still uncertain. Would other governments fulfill their promises of support, or would they wait until strongman Yahya Jammeh turned to mass violence to send meager amounts of help, or worse, peacekeepers? Within hours, Gambians had an answer: Senegalese troops crossed the border into Gambia, to remove Jammeh from power in a radical departure from the status quo.

This moment is about more than the Gambia or unseating a dictator, some say. It’s a reassertion of democracy at a time when many believe its future is in peril. It’s a rare swirl of unified solidarity, says Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa, which supported Gambia’s opposition candidate, against one of the continent’s longest-ruling and cruelest tyrants that’s setting the stage for a coming year of crucial elections on the continent. ”This could perhaps be a line in the sand,” says Smith.

The democratic transfer of power in Gambia shows that Africa is defying its stereotypes, no longer a place where big men cling to power while other big men watch and do nothing. Next up: Kagame, Kabila and Dos Santos. Watch your backs. The ballot box is waiting.

Daniel Malloy
Chapel Hill, NC
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2:24pm ET

Reclining on the quad on an unseasonably warm afternoon, a University of North Carolina senior tells OZY he does not want to give out his name because of the toxic nature of political debates of late. Like most of his young cohorts on the mostly liberal campus, the business major didn’t vote for Donald Trump and is worried about an erratic candidate taking control of the nuclear codes. But he is intrigued by possible changes that could benefit the economy and uproot Washington corruption. And he sees the post-election wailing and gnashing of teeth as counterproductive.

When Meryl Streep attacked Trump at the Golden Globes, his classmates cheered as the student gritted his teeth and wondered whether he is doomed to four years of politics permeating every TV show. “What happened to the phrase: ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?’” he says “I thought everyone had heard that at some point, but now it’s like: ‘Where did my safe space go?’”

Libby Coleman & Nat Roe
Salt Lake City, Utah
Thursday, Jan. 19, 1:38pm ET

Here’s a healthcare debate you probably haven’t heard about: How to end cancer.

We’re here in snowy, smoggy Utah, where we’ve met up with Mary Beckerle. Bubbly and funny, Beckerle heads up the Huntsman Cancer Institute — and played a big part in the roll-out of Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer “moonshot” initiative. That initiative, inspired by Beau Biden and announced last year, aims at nothing less than curing cancer.

screen shot 2017 01 19 at 12.37.16 pm

Mary Beckerle

Source Nat Roe

Funding for cancer research has been a bipartisan issue ever since 1971, when Richard Nixon announced a war on the disease. But transitions being what they are, its future is uncertain; a few days ago, Biden said he “prays” that President Donald Trump will continue to support it. Beckerle, who ditches the white coat for a bright red jacket when she leaves the lab, is uncertain but optimistic. Federal funding cuts could be devastating, even with HCI’s alternative funding sources that include the Huntsman family (Jon Huntsman was formerly Utah’s Republican governor) and the LDS church.

Some 1.7 million cancer cases were diagnosed in 2016, and more than half a million people died from it. So this is no small issue.

Neil Parmar
Toronto, Canada
Thursday, Jan. 19, 1:12pm ET

I’ve been asking leaders in business, tech and politics about their hopes, fears and predictions for the next four years. Here’s what Stephen Lake, CEO and founder of Thalmic Labs, based in Ontario, told me in response:

“My hope for the incoming administration is that we see a collaborative and unifying approach towards solving the difficult challenges faced by the United States (and beyond). Technological progress and the forces of globalization will continue. Ignoring — or worse, attempting to roll-back their effects — will do little to help those feeling left behind today. This isn’t a zero-sum game. Instead, we must work together — both within the United States and internationally — to address these tough issues using science, reason and innovation.”

Alex Hotz
Washington, DC
Wednesday, Jan. 19, 7:12pm ET

Footage from a queer dance party/ protest in front of the house of Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

OZYPolitics & Power

Welcome to a new era in politics around the world, from innovators at the local level to federal disrupters like the Trump administration in America's capital.