WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — Police in riot gear used pepper spray and made more than 200 arrests in a confrontation with protesters in downtown Washington, D.C.
Officers arrested 217 protesters, CBS affiliate WUSA-TV reported. Six police officers were hurt during the protests, including three who were hit in the head with flying objects. All of them were left with minor injuries.
Police said the demonstrators damaged vehicles, destroyed property and set small fires while armed with crowbars and hammers.
Some in the crowd threw cups, water bottles and objects including chunks of concrete at police.
A video on social media shows District of Columbia police pepper-spraying a group of protesters – including an elderly woman and a man on crutches, as well as those trying to help them to move out of the way.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department declined to immediately provide comment. It was unclear what happened just before the video began.
The video shows a woman screaming “my child” as she runs with her crying son in her arms. Others are hunched over or coughing as plumes of pink spray waft over hundreds of people in the street. Toward the end of the video, protesters appear to be breaking up cement blocks and some people are seen throwing objects toward police.
Several spirited demonstrations unfolded peacefully at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through to the inaugural ceremony. Signs read, “Resist Trump Climate Justice Now,” “Let Freedom Ring,” “Free Palestine.”
But about a mile from the National Mall, police gave chase to a group of about 100 protesters who smashed the windows of downtown businesses including a Starbucks, a Bank of America, a Wells Fargo and a McDonald’s as they denounced capitalism and Mr. Trump. Police in riot gear used pepper spray from large canisters and eventually cordoned off protesters at 12th and L streets in northwest Washington.
The confrontation began an hour before Mr. Trump took the oath of office and escalated several hours later as the crowd of protesters swelled to more than 1,000, some wearing gas masks and with arms chained together inside PVC pipe. One said the demonstrators were “bringing in the cavalry.”
When some crossed police lines, taunting, “Put the pigs in the ground,” police charged with batons and pepper spray, as well as stun grenades, which are used to shock and disperse crowds. Loud booms echoed through the streets about six blocks from where Mr. Trump would hold his inaugural parade.
Some protesters picked up bricks and concrete from the sidewalk and hurled them at police lines. Some rolled large, metal trash cans at police.
At 13th and K streets, police moved in on a crowd after a limo was set on fire, CBS News homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports. The fire department responded to the blaze and put it out.
Pegues didn’t see anyone injured at the scene. After the police moved in, some in the crowd removed bricks from the ground and threw them at officers, Pegues reports.
According to a police spokesman, around 95 people had been arrested by 2 p.m., CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reported. The charges include rioting and vandalism.
Two officers were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Milton reported.
Police said in a statement that the group damaged vehicles, destroyed property and set small fires while armed with crowbars and hammers. Peter Newsham, the interim police chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, said the group caused “significant damage” along a number of blocks.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said violence against police will not be tolerated. CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas reported.
“We welcome visitors, but we will not tolerate destruction of our neighborhoods and we will absolutely not tolerate violence against our police officers,” Bowser said.
Before Inauguration Day, the DisruptJ20 coalition, named after the date of the inauguration, had promised that people participating in its actions in Washington would attempt to shut down the celebrations, risking arrest when necessary.
Most of the protests on Friday were peaceful. Those involved in peaceful protests said the actions of a few can hurt the anti-Trump message.
“These groups that are breaking windows and things like that delegitimitizes a lot of the reasons the rest of us are here,” Eli Dicken said.
Earlier in the day, as guests were going in to the ceremony, lines for ticket-holders entering two gates stretched for blocks at one point as protesters clogged entrances.
Trump supporter Brett Ecker said the protesters were frustrating but weren’t going to put a damper on his day.
“They’re just here to stir up trouble,” said the 36-year-old public school teacher. “It upsets me a little bit that people choose to do this, but yet again, it’s one of the things I love about this country.”
At one checkpoint, protesters wore orange jumpsuits with black hoods over their faces to represent prisoners in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay. Eleanor Goldfield, who helped organize the Disrupt J20 protest, said protesters wanted to show Mr. Trump and his “misguided, misinformed or just plain dangerous” supporters that they won’t be silent.
Black Lives Matter and feminist groups also made their voices heard.
Most Trump supporters walking to the inauguration past Union Station ignored protesters outside the train station, but not Doug Rahm, who engaged in a lengthy and sometimes profane yelling match with them. “Get a job,” said Rahm, a Bikers for Trump member from Philadelphia. “Stop crying, snowflakes, Trump won.”
Outside the International Spy Museum, protesters in Russian hats ridiculed Mr. Trump’s praise of President Vladimir Putin, marching with signs calling Mr. Trump “Putin’s Puppet” and “Kremlin employee of the month.”
Demonstrations in Washington were not the only ones Friday. New York was among the other cities to hold protests.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams (45th) and other protesters were arrested outside Trump Tower in Manhattan after sitting on Fifth Avenue. Other demonstrators chanted loudly but the event remained peaceful.
In San Francisco, thousands of demonstrators formed a human chain on the Golden Gate Bridge and chanted “Love Trumps hate.” In the city’s financial district, a few hundred protesters blocked traffic outside an office building partly owned by Mr. Trump.
In Atlanta, protests converged at City Hall and a few hundred people chanted and waved signs protesting Mr. Trump, denouncing racism and police brutality and expressing support for immigrants, Muslims and the Black Lives Matter movement.
And in Nashville, half a dozen protesters chained themselves to the doors of the Tennessee Capitol. Hundreds also sat in a 10-minute silent protest at a park while Mr. Trump took the oath of office. Organizers led a prayer, sang patriotic songs and read the Declaration of Independence aloud.
In Washington, the “Festival of Resistance” march ran about 1.5 miles to McPherson Square, a park about three blocks from the White House, where a rally featured the filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore.
“We have to perform an intervention,” Moore said, according to WUSA. “It helps us that he has such a thin skin. He can’t stand the fact that people don’t like him. He wants to be loved.”
Friday’s protests weren’t the first of the inauguration. On Thursday night, protesters and Trump supporters clashed outside a pro-Trump event in Washington. Police used chemical spray on some protesters in an effort to control the unruly crowd.
Also on Thursday, actors Robert De Niro, Sally Field, Mark Ruffalo and Mayor Bill de Blasio joined hundreds of other people outside Trump Tower in Manhattan for a pre-inauguration demonstration.
The demonstrations won’t end when Mr. Trump takes up residence in the White House. A massive Women’s March on Washington is planned for Saturday. Christopher Geldart, the District of Columbia’s homeland security director, has said 1,800 buses have registered to park in the city Saturday, which could mean nearly 100,000 people coming in just by bus.
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