Protests are planned across the US on Monday, February 18 (Presidents' Day), to denounce President Donald Trump's decision to declare a national emergency to procure funding to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border. MoveOn.org, which is organizing the protests, has indicated that related demonstrations will take place in dozens of American cities and towns, notably including in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. A comprehensive list of protest times and locations is available here.
A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near protest sites. Confrontations between police and protesters cannot be ruled out.
On February 15, US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, invoking emergency powers granted to the presidency under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, to procure a total of USD 8 billion in already appropriated funds to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border. The move, a major step toward Trump fulfilling his key campaign promise, comes after a stalemate between congressional Republicans and Democrats over the issue which led to a 35-day partial government shutdown in December 2018 - January 2019 and a subsequent appropriations bill passed by Congress on February 14 that failed to provide Trump's initially desired sum of USD 5.7 billion for border wall funding.
While American presidents have invoked emergency powers under the 1976 National Emergencies Act dozens of times before, critics of Trump's declaration claim that no former president has used the powers to override a congressional decision to not provide a desired level of funding for a project. Congress, as defined by the US Constitution, holds the power of the purse in American government.
Individuals in affected cities and towns are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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