Protests surrounding the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump have reached fever pitch as demonstrators turn violent, smashing windows and throwing objects around DC. More than 200 people were arrested, according to police.
Just ahead of Trump’s scheduled swearing-in, some 500 protesters tore through downtown Washington, smashing symbols of capitalist America along the way.
The windows of a Bank of America branch, a McDonald’s restaurant and a Starbucks were among the targets.
Police used flash grenades, tear gas and pepper spray to subdue and arrest members of the crowd.
RT America’s Alexander Rubinstein reported being hit with a flash grenade before he was arrested, along with others, while covering the protests.
Trump’s inauguration day has been marked by various groups across the city protesting the new president’s stance on immigrants, Muslims, his attitude towards women and more.
Here is the flash grenade they used that blinded me and left my ears ringing. Cops encircled crowd when I couldn’t see; arresting everyone pic.twitter.com/bL2ulgv9DR
— Alexander Rubinstein (@AlexR_DC) January 20, 2017
Earlier in the day, activist group DisruptJ20 blocked several security checkpoints leading to viewing areas for the ceremony.
A group of protesters were being pushed back from the main parade route in downtown Washington by a line of helmeted police in anti-riot gear. The sounds of pepper spray and other crowd-control devices being fired could be heard.
Police pushed protesters back with plastic shields and lobbed tear gas and flash-bang devices at them.
“We don’t need you here, put away your riot gear,” chanted the crowd.
Police prevented a group of protesters from moving forward three blocks north of the parade route on 13th Street NW in downtown.
Police Activity in the area around 13th and K Sts NW
— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) January 20, 2017
The inaugural parade started at 3pm.
“We have significant damage in a number of blocks in our city,” Interim Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said, according to McClatchy.
“We have a little over 90 arrests,” Newsham said, adding that the protesters were only “a very, very small percentage of the numbers of folks who came to peacefully assemble in our city.”
Newsham put the number of protesters at “a couple hundred,” but Reuters estimated as many as 500 people may have taken part.
As the parade began, the crowd, still three blocks north of the route, chanted: “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.”
A parked limousine took a beating during the protest, its windows smashed. During the inaugural parade it was set on fire.
Anti-Trump protesters were quite visible along the parade route.
RT America host Larry King said that the windows of his hired car were smashed as well. The incident occurred while he was on the air, covering the inauguration.
Protestors in DC smashed the windows of my hired SUV & many other cars. I was working in-studio & am ok, but my driver is a bit rattled.
— Larry King (@kingsthings) January 20, 2017