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Fires, bricks mark daylong assault on inaugural festivities

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A parked limousine burned during a demonstration after the inauguration of President Donald Trump today in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> Protesters set fires and hurled bricks in a daylong assault on the city hosting Donald Trump’s inauguration, registering their rage against the new president in a series of clashes that led to more than 200 arrests. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades to prevent the chaos from spilling into Trump’s formal procession and evening balls.

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” and “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 and a McDonald’s as they denounced capitalism and Trump. Police in riot gear used pepper spray from large canisters to help contain the violence, which erupted periodically throughout the day.

“They began to destroy property, throw objects at people, through windows. A large percentage of this small group was armed with crowbars and hammers,” said the city’s interim police chief, Peter Newsham.

Six officers suffered minor injuries, he said.

The confrontation began an hour before 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 Trump would soon 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.

Later, they set fire to a limousine on the perimeter of the secured zone, sending black smoke billowing into the sky during Trump’s procession.

As night fell, protesters set a bonfire blocks from the White House and frightened well-dressed Trump supporters as they ventured to the new president’s inaugural balls. Police briefly ordered ball goers to remain inside their hotel as they worked to contain advancing protesters.

Police said they charged 217 people with rioting, said Newsham, noting that the group caused “significant damage” along a number of blocks.

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.

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 DisruptJ20 protest, said protesters wanted to show 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. Outside the International Spy Museum, protesters in Russian hats ridiculed Trump’s praise of President Vladimir Putin, marching with signs calling Trump “Putin’s Puppet” and “Kremlin employee of the month.”

Friday’s protests spread across the nation.

In San Francisco, thousands 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 Trump.

In Atlanta, protests converged at City Hall and a few hundred people chanted and waved signs protesting Trump, denouncing racism and police brutality and expressing support for immigrants, Muslims and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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 Trump took the oath of office. Organizers led a prayer, sang patriotic songs and read the Declaration of Independence aloud.

In the Pacific Northwest, demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, burned U.S. flags and students at Portland State University walked out of classes. About 200 protesters gathered on the Capitol steps in Olympia, Washington, carrying signs that included the messages “Resist Trump” and Not My Problem.” Olympia police reported about 100 marchers causing some traffic disruptions downtown, and protesters also marched in Seattle.

The demonstrations won’t end when 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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  • Protests and dissenting opinions are important to our democracy and is protected by the constitution, but what these animals are doing is violent, and not protected, it will lead to a backlash and further marginalization of their POV. The American public is smarter than that, they see that this is not the way.

    • These 100 violent thugs have TOTALLY discredited the many millions of non-violent Americans who disagree with Trump’s strong words and actions. As Trump refers to them: ENEMIES. Totally discredited all of them.

      Nothing any of those losers ever say will matter. It has now been proven that all that talk about tolerance and compassion by Dummocrats was totally fake. Fake.

      If anyone doubts this. Just play the protest video over and over and over again.

  • These Democrat and J20 protesters are really disgusting. In Washington, DC, which is 94 percent Democrat, these criminals injured police officers and trashed businesses such as Starbucks and McDonalds which are owned by local people and serve local residents. Trump is still President and these despicable actions by anarchists, socialists, and communists will continue to increase Republican votes in red states and swing states. Good job!

  • clinton brown shirts representing the tolerance, love and diversity of democrat ideals while seeking out a safe space in today’s inaugural celebration.

    democrats’ hate filled racist speeches designed to ignite class warfare in america are showing their fruit. tomorrow’s demonstrations will likely be led by the same clinton brown shirts that thought they could manipulate a presidential election away from sanders and trump.

    they forgot about the american people. the same forgotten americans that trump reached out to today in his call for unity and trust.

  • WOW the left sure has lost their minds. very sad to see and hear so much HATE. Give Mr. Trump a chance. HE already took away the penalty that Obama thought was OK for people who could not afford insurance. The man GETS STUFF DONE. LOVE IT

  • The true image and actions of the Democratic party and their supporters. These acts from the left are the reasons why President Trump won the elections, do the country a favor and continue with these despicable acts it will make re-electing President Trump a slam dunk. Finally the United States of America is going to be back on top. It is a great to be an American.

    • I’m breathlessly waiting for some of the more outspoken progressive voices who have been soiling the SA message boards to denounce this destructive and dangerous behavior by their brethren. I’ll probably be waiting a long time. And davcon you are 100% correct about this kind of nonsense helping Trump over the finish line. We saw it in Baltimore and Ferguson and progressives not only tolerated the violence but actively encouraged it. Law abiding and hard working Americans finally got sick of it and voted for change.

      • In their hearts, progressives know they’re wrong. They can’t come in here and denounce this behavior. That would be too close to an apology, and that is something they just cannot do. They’ll wait in the dark until the next negative article about Trump appears and then pile on, tooth and nail. Negative: It’s what they do.

      • Notice the Democrats who stood on the steps of Congress yelling “hands up don’t shoot”, (which, was based on a lie), also didn’t show up for the inauguration. I believe they too, helped Trump win. Voters, Dem and Republican (except for in Hawaii), are simply tired of it. The current rioters will strengthen President Trump’s position.

    • The violent protesters are a fringe group of anarchists who are using the Trump election as an excuse to unleash their hatred. They are being rightly denounced. The majority of anti-Trump protesters are non-violent and are simply exercising the Constitutional right of free speech. There is a big difference.

    • They are draining the swamp themselves by their own actions.
      Those Dems who boycotted today’s inauguration should just quit their jobs already.
      They turned their back on a sacred tradition of a peaceful transition of power. By doing so they proved to all Americans that they are not worthy of the offices which they are supposed to represent. For them it’s easier to walk away and protest rather than be willing to help unite a divided country which they are dividing.

      • I am no fan of Donald Trump. And to acknowledge him as POTUS reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. However, I appreciate the transition of office the U.S.A. always demonstrates.
        People of this country need to really get a clue, “We the People” are in POWER not the elected office.
        Mr. Trump will find out when he is “fired”
        Your local elected offices have more control and affect over your day to day life that the Federal level. Remember that when voting for City Council and State Reps.
        Aloha.

  • Who pays for the damages and loss of income? Did the hard-core protesters have a permit. Perhaps if the arrested are made to pay the cost associated to the damage claims, the demonstrations become peaceful protests rather than violent.

    • …and when bath house barry was immaculated where was the looting, burning, and general rioting? Like the white riots after the OJ trial, non existent.

  • People – you are falling for the very media hype you rail against.
    Tens of thousands peacefully protest but the media reports the actions of a hardcore group of less than two hundred anarchists – note the circled “A” sprayed on the burning limousine.
    “Fires, bricks mark daylong assault on inaugural festivities” is the headline – and the article and news reports almost immediately say “most of the demonstrations were peaceful…”. Don’t fall for the hype – the media paints all sides with a broad brush – sells news. The news is not exactly lies – just selective, sensationalized reporting. YMMV

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