I’ll unify America, pledges Trump... but the protests have already begun

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Donald Trump has pledged to unify America as he prepares to be sworn in as US president, amid plans for widespread protests and a boycott by dozens of politicians.

The tycoon-turned-politician will address hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington DC and millions watching around the world, in his first speech as the 45th president of the United States.

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during the presidential inaugural Chairman's Global Dinner

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during the presidential inaugural Chairman's Global Dinner

A massive security operation has been launched ahead of the event, including a heavily guarded perimeter around the US Capitol building where Mr Trump will deliver his inaugural address.

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A banner unfurled in Brighton as part of the Bridges Not Walls protest against Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration.

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Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets of cities around the world in opposition to Mr Trump’s presidency.

Demonstrators clashed with police outside a pro-Trump rally in Washington on Thursday night, while protest group DisruptJ20 has said it will try to shut down or cause delays at security checkpoints at the inauguration ceremony.

Speaking at a concert at the Lincoln Memorial on the eve of his inauguration, Mr Trump told supporters: “We’re going to unify our country.

Military personnel walk along the National Mall in Washington

Military personnel walk along the National Mall in Washington

“We’re going to make American great for all our people.

“We’re going to do things that haven’t been done for our country for many, many decades. It’s going to change.”

After forecasters predicted rain in Washington DC on Friday, Mr Trump added: “I don’t care frankly if it’s going to be beautiful or if it’s going to rain like crazy. It makes no difference to me.

“I have a feeling it’s going to be beautiful.”

Mr Trump is reportedly drafting a relatively short inaugural speech with the help of Stephen Miller, his incoming senior White House adviser for policy.

Hillary Clinton is listed to attend the inauguration ceremony with her husband, former president Bill Clinton, despite her bitterly fought election loss. President Barack Obama and former president George W Bush will also attend.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who was the first British politician to meet Mr Trump after his election victory, has travelled to Washington for the ceremony.

Some 65 Democratic Congress members have said they will boycott Mr Trump’s inauguration following his row with congressman John Lewis.

Mr Lewis called Mr Trump’s victory illegitimate because of Russia’s alleged interference in the election, prompting the president-elect to brand the civil rights activist as “all talk, talk, talk - no action or results”.

Mr Trump will take part in the presidential procession and parade after he is sworn as president, before attending the inaugural ball at the Walter E Washington Convention Centre later that evening.

On Saturday, celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Amy Schumer and Patricia Arquette have said they will attend a women’s march on Washington which is expected to attract 200,000 people.

Mr Trump has said he will not start attending to presidential duties until Monday.