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Confrontation near parade route escalates, pepper spray used

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Police deployed smoke and pepper grenades during clashes with protesters in northwest Washington today.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Protesters burned signs outside the National Press Building ahead of the presidential inauguration, Thursday, in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> Protesters registered their rage against the new president today in a chaotic confrontation with police who used pepper spray and stun grenades in a melee just blocks from Donald Trump’s inaugural parade route. Scores were arrested for trashing property and attacking officers.

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 and a McDonald’s as they denounced capitalism and 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 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.

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 and that more than 90 people were arrested and charged with rioting.

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.

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 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 Trump’s praise of President Vladimir Putin, marching with signs calling Trump “Putin’s Puppet” and “Kremlin employee of the month.”

More demonstrations were planned for later in the day. 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 featuring the filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore was planned.

Along the inaugural parade route, the ANSWER Coalition anti-war group planned demonstrations at two locations.

Today’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.

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.

Associated Press writers Alan Suderman, Matthew Barakat, Alanna Durkin Richer and Luis Alonso Lugo contributed to this report.

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  • Congratulations to Mr. Vladimir Putin on becoming the 45th president of the United States! Hope you will make America great again! Да здравствует Путин! Да здравствует США! Слава! #МАГА

    • I’m enjoying watching people like you and Madonna freak out. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I think our system of checks and balances can temper a Trump Presidency just fine.

        • Exactly–the way Democrats do it–riots, break windows, loot—that’s what happens when they don’t get a job–welfare is too easy!!

        • I’m watching them scream on TV, interrupting interviews, screaming stuff like “Not my President”, they are coming off as screaming children, big screaming babys.

        • You live in fear. You confuse and misinterpret Trumps acts of business acumen with collusion. Trump is smartly not burning his bridges with Putin.

    • Another delicate snowflake, poor loser, sour grapes, whining because he’s beginning to melt since he no longer is in his safe space. Go home comrade, go cry in your borsch at home, not here. We’re gonna MAGA and you may get your feelings hurt while we do.

      • Take it from brother pilot.

        He and the rest of us Trump supporters no all about whining, we did it for 8 long years.

        Do any of you snowflakes have any idea what it’s like to huddle in front of Hannity and O’Reilly sucking your thumbs? We sure do.

        But those days of lonely exile in that dark echo chamber are over. We are the mainstream now, and our numbers are growing.

        I know this is true because Trump tweeted it. Mandate!

        Yippee!

    • There is something that puzzles me about the “Make America Great Again” slogan. (MAGA makes it sound like you’re talking about a video game). Obviously, it means that the person saying it doesn’t think America is great now. My question is: when do you think it was great? And why? And if this period was a time before you were alive, what convinces you that America was great then? I’m genuinely curious.

      • Well, Melania is pretty hot for starters. Michelle Obama was very pretty and awesome in her own right. But Melania just takes the title “First Lady” to another level.

        • That’s all their brains allow them to do because they cannot connect with common sense and live in denial.
          They want attention and throw tantrums like 2 year olds hoping the liberal msm gives them that attention.
          Nice to see that they were largely ignored through the inauguration while they make fools of themselves.

        • Defining some of these people who smash windows, hurl stones and start fires as protesters is pretty PC if not downright kind. Why not call them out for what they truly are: common criminals.

      • It was greater 8 years ago. Obama has wrecked America in the world and greatly worsened race relations. He has also promoted the victimization of all minorities and encouraged millions to think the government is their “Mother” and will take care of them while they do nothing.
        Trump, hopefully, will provide job opportunities and encourage people to take the jobs, not handouts from the Government.

        • The United States has systematically been dismantled over the last 8 years, as the former President attempted to weaken us enough to be absorbed into some nebulous global state.

      • Not to worry: it was a phony promise meant to distract poorly educated voters. Trump is all about himself and serving his friends in Israel and Russia. I foresee very bad things for America under this unstable, inept man’s misrule

        • “a phony promise ”
          You mean like “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” “You can keep your doctor”
          Stay tuned. you may be surprised. Now, come out of your safe place and wish Kellyanne Conway a Happy, Happy Birthday.

    • IRT KeoniGohan, fully agree with your post. Was there any anti-Americans demonstrating? I bet a very few in number attempting to create trouble for all Americans.

  • “The lack of A-list star power…”
    The “A-list star power” couldn’t Push, Pull, Shove, Carry or Roll Sec. Clinton across the electoral finish line. Maybe Barry has a leftover participation medal for her popular vote win.
    “A-list star power”=Useless.
    Happy Birthday Kellyanne Conway.

  • What a great day! The peaceful transition of power, to a new world. I am watching the inauguration right now, and it is so impressive. Thank you America for electing President Trump. Right now I see Bill and Hillary, Bill in a black coat and Hillary in a white coat, and GW and Laura about to take a seat as well. God Bless America!

    • I wasn’t a Trump supporter before the election. After seeing how the Liberals reacted to Trump’s victory I’m glad he won. Now it’s very easy to see how bigoted and elitist the Liberal Democratic party is. Trump will surely be better for the country than Hillary would have been. God bless America!

      • The word is “enabled” and “entitled.” We became much weaker, lazier and entitled as a nation and as a people the past 8 years. People want their handouts and they want them NOW. They have become so used to getting their way due to the type of policies that were promoted during the past 8 years that you can really see how weak and soft and whiny we have become as a country. So embarrassing. Their reaction against Mr Trump (protests, property damage, disrespect of the law, etc) is a symptom of a much greater problem. Mr. Trump, thankfully, will “adjust” those attitudes very quickly. He is already corralling the out of control, biased media. He is already putting them on notice that a new Commander in Chief is in the Oval Office.

        • Obama haters never left America. After 8 years. No us Americans/patriots will hang around and make sure this president is kept in check.

      • @ NanakuliBoss Obama haters never left America and never vowed to do so if he was elected (twice). On the other hand, many liberals vowed to leave America if Trump was elected. Do you know any liberals who have moved out of this country since Trump’s election? Just typical of the Left to make promises they never intended to keep.

  • Make America GREAT again! Stock market doing juuuuust fine! And to think some fools thought the financial system would collapse when he won the election. No, that only happened during the Democrat’s watch in 2008. It was poised to happen again if Mr. Trump had not been elected President. So many Americans are still furious that our tax dollars were used to bail out these companies and those who made sweet profits off of our backs. And to think, no one in the US went to prison. Many Americans are still furious about that. And yes, Mr Trump just addressed that in his speech a few seconds ago. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump knows what we are thinking, what we are feeling and what we want to see happen to this great nation in the next EIGHT years. Yes, he will win a second term.

      • People may not like the outcome of the election, but the mark of a great nation and of a mature, educated and civilized person is to accept that outcome with dignity, respect and grace and move on. We are one people. We are one nation. I didn’t like the fact that certain judges/lawyers were just reappointed in Texas but I accepted it. With dignity, grace and respect.

      • A democrat was president when terrorist Oscar Lopez-Rivera’s sentence was commuted along with four cartel members, as well as hundreds of drug dealers.
        A democrat was president when 201 Gitmo terrorists were released.
        A democrat was president when the DNC was hacked and that same president got his panties in a twist and ordered an investigation….for hacked e-mails…and ordered the expulsion of Russian diplomats. But he commutes the sentence of a traitor who stole and released to Wikileaks over 700,000 classified and sensitive documents–some of which was found on the PC’s of Bin Laden.
        Glad that president is gone.
        (Though he did have a fairly good environmental record.)

  • This is the America which Obama left us with after eight years. Domestic terrorists who enjoy the American Way but want it under their conditions.
    I am having such a great yet sad time watching these cupcakes make fools of themselves destroying property and causing damage. Just a few minutes
    of violent expression will get them a life time criminal record. They will surly remember inauguration day 2017.

  • D@mn the Libertards, Democrats and Racists. All you Democrats/Libertards been taught of the Rep. bad deeds but look what happened! Think hard before believing your Libertard talking heads speaking LIES!

      • People need to reminded of things that goes right thru their brains. These Libertards causing problems are NOT Rep’s. “sigh”, accept your Libertarded short comings, admit it. Open your eyes and believe what your seeing, no need to change the subject sidestepping your Libertarded ways of blaming everyone and everything but yourselves!

  • It’s all on him now. No more Hillary or Obama from the critics. Crime rates should start falling now ,jobs should be knocking on your door now, terrorism and domestic terrorism should stop and everybody will be happy by the end of summer,right? All on the Trump.

    • Oh yes, and some are already pegging one stock of Google to hit $1,030. For ONE share of Google stock. Life is good and we can thank Mr. Trump for that. Big businesses know that Mr. Trump understands how to promote and protect our American interests when it comes to the economy. The market reflects this.

  • Remember when President Obama took office… all conservatives rioting, smashing windows, setting fires, overturning police cars. ???
    Yea, I don’t either.

  • Serious question: Can someone remind me (and everyone else) of all of the things that Trump said he would do on “day one”? Day One is today. And Trump supporters, please don’t try to evade that question by telling us not to really pay attention to what Donald Trump said. People should say what they mean, and mean what they say. Especially if you’re the POTUS.

    • LOL. I did not support Trump nor did I vote for him but I have to laugh at people like you. Clinton lost, Trump just got sworn in, chill out and pull out your wedgie and enjoy the ride. It’ll be four years before we get to vote again. Remember we’re all Americans.

  • The irony of the violent demonstrators is that we live in a country that prides itself in peaceful transitions of power. These people claim to be doing what’s best but in the process they are demonstrating their dysfunction. The sooner the democratic party distances themselves from these fringe groups the sooner they become competitive in elections. I totally believe in free speech but not if it’s violent.

  • The true image of the Democratic party and it’s supporters, this kind of attitude and action is exactly why President Trump was elected. Keep it up and re-election is a slam dunk. Finally United States is back on top where it belongs.

  • You armchair anarchists can be in sympatico with the other futility addicts. Splash some tobasco in your eyes and break your bedroom windows while screaming O slogans.

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