Sharpton leads DC civil rights protest ahead of Trump inauguration
© Getty

Thousands of protesters led by Rev. Al Sharpton marched along the National Mall on Saturday, launching the first of what is expected to be a series of protests leading up to President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE’s inauguration on Friday.

Despite cold rain and cloudy skies in Washington, about 2,000 protesters gathered to hear pre-march speakers who castigated Trump and reiterated a pledge to protect civil rights advancements, according to Reuters.

Sharpton's message to Democratic lawmakers: "Get some backbone."

"We want the world to see if you sell us out, we're going to let everybody know who you are," Sharpton said, according to the Washington Examiner, expressing concern the Trump administration could roll back gains made under President Obama.


"We are not here because we didn't have something else to do,” he said. “We are here because we fought hard to make sure this administration had our pride and we are not going away. Criminal justice and police reform must go forward."

Trump has drawn the ire of civil rights activists, immigration advocates and women’s rights activists, among others, who fear that derogatory comments on immigrants, women and minorities could translate into policy once the real estate mogul takes office.

"We've come not to appeal to Donald Trump, because he's made it clear what his policies are and what his nominations are," Sharpton said, according to the Examiner.

"We come to say to the Democrats in the Senate and in the House, and to the moderate Republicans, to get some backbone and get some guts."

Dozens of groups have received permits to hold protests throughout the upcoming week, and thousands have vowed to disrupt and “shut down” Trump’s inauguration, Reuters reported.