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Violent Anti-Trump Protests Lead to 217 Arrests on Inauguration Day

Image: Violent Anti-Trump Protests Lead to 217 Arrests on Inauguration Day

(Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Friday, 20 Jan 2017 07:15 PM

More than 200 protestors were arrested in Washington, D.C., on Friday as Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation's 45th president.

Shortly before the inauguration ceremony, violent protests erupted along Washington's K Street corridor when demonstrators threw rocks at police and storefront windows and set trash cans on fire. Later in the day, a parked limousine was trashed and set on fire near the spot where windows of the Hamilton hotel and a Starbucks were boarded up from the morning's violence.

Washington, D.C. officials said 217 people were arrested following the morning scuffle with police. Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser emphasized that the majority of the hundreds of people who took to the streets to protest Trump's policies did so peacefully. Violence and destruction of property will not be tolerated, she said at an evening news conference.

"People are free to exercise their rights to protest, but stop destroying the city," she said.

Officials said seven of D.C.'s Metropolitan Police officers suffered minor injuries in the scuffle.

The influx of visitors on Friday created a palpable sense of tension on the streets of Washington, turning it into a microcosm of the country's many political and cultural divisions. Trump supporters wearing "Make America Great Again" hats couldn't help but encounter protesters and the hordes of women who poured into the city Friday in preparation for Saturday's Women's March on Washington.

That made for fraught moment in many corners of the city. In a sandwich shop not far from the National Mall, patrons opposed to Trump spoke loudly about their disdain for the new president while a group of four men bedecked in pro-Trump hats and T-shirts sat in a corner.

As the number of protestors gathered in K Street's Franklin Square, younger Trump supporters began filtering in on the edge of the crowd. It wasn't long before taunts and yelling ensued. At one point on Friday afternoon, there were dueling chants of "Not my president" and "Trump, Trump, Trump." A small but vocal group of young men who favor Trump also began singing the 1960s hit "Na Na Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye" and Queen's "We Are the Champions" as a young woman with a bullhorn shouting "No KKK, no fascist USA." The mood was combustible, to say the least.

If violence flares again in Washington's streets as night falls, the Trump administration may well face a test of its law-and-order campaign promises on the first day of his presidency.

The K Street locus of the protest turned chaotic again around 4 p.m. ET. A parked limo that had its windows smashed earlier was set on fire, creating a huge fireball. A municipal trash can was then dragged into the middle of the street and set ablaze. A fire truck quickly doused the flames of the limo, but police decided to move the crowd out of the street next to Franklin Square. Flash grenades went off prompting a mini stampede on K Street between 12th and 14th. More police amassed at the corner of K and 14th, but the dispersement effort stopped there.

To make things more combustible, young Trump supporters began flowing into the edges of the scene. Both sides engaged in taunts. At one point chants of "Not my president" competed with "Trump, Trump, Trump."

Meanwhile plenty of inauguration-goers threaded through the crowds on their way to hotels and restaurants, making for bizarre contrasts at times.

Protesters seemed to be loosely organized. Pro-socialism groups were on hand, along with Code Pink activists and the anti-globalization groups that attend marches with bandannas over their faces.


© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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More than 200 protestors were arrested in Washington, D.C., on Friday as Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation's 45th president.
violent, anti-trump, protests, arrests, inauguration day
Friday, 20 Jan 2017 07:15 PM
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