Over 200 protesters were arrested as brick-throwing vandals torched a vehicle and damaged half-dozen stores after a series of protests marring Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony gave way to violent street clashes in Washington, DC.
Six police officers were also injured and at least two police officers and another person in downtown Washington were taken to hospital after run-ins with protesters, Fire spokesman Vito Maggiolo told CNN.
A large number of protesters had gathered in the national capital since early morning on Friday to voice their anger and hold demonstrations against what they alleged were the divisive policies of the new Trump administration.
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A limousine was later set aflame as Trump rode a short distance away in his inaugural parade. Police in riot gear used pepper spray and concussion grenades to halt the rampage near the US Capitol, where Trump was inaugurated.
Officers responded by launching smoke and flash-bang devices, which could be heard from blocks away, into the street to disperse the crowds.
At least 217 protesters were arrested, the CNN report said.
Earlier, police had to use pepper spray to disperse people who had gathered outside the National Press Club, against what they called “the Alt-Reich,” a reference to new administration’s allegedly divisive, sexist and racist policies.
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Washington Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Lt Sean Conboy said they have arrested people for “vandalism and destruction of property.”
One of the protesters burned a Trump hat, according to NBC News. “Impeach the predatory president,” read one of two messages projected onto a building’s facade.Anti-Trump signs and banners were seen even as thousands of his supporters made their way to the US Capitol on Friday.
“They are white supremacist fascists,” a volunteer Desba Rojas was quoted as saying by The Los Angeles Times.
Rojas said her goal was “to stop them from getting into office, and if they get into office, sopping them before they can consolidate” power.
A large number of left protesters under the banner of DisruptJ20 planned a march towards the inauguration venue and display anti-Trump sign along the parade route. So did another antiwar and anti-racism group.