PORTLAND, Ore. >> Hundreds marched through Seattle and Olympia, Washington, Friday and a group in Portland burned several U.S. flags as activists protested the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
The flag-burning occurred on Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square, called “Portland’s living room” because it’s a popular hangout for all types of people.
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On Friday afternoon, hundreds of anti-Trump protesters gathered there before the start of a march that was expected to draw thousands.
They included a small group of flag-burners, many of them masked and clad in black. At first they had trouble because of the rain, but using lighter fluid they torched at least half a dozen flags. An ember briefly fell on the jacket of one participant but the fire was quickly put out.
The crowd in Portland marched through downtown and Portland police said on Twitter officers had used pepper spray at times. Police also tweeted that some protesters were throwing ice balls and eggs at officers.
Later, police announced the protest had become unlawful after some were seen armed with clubs and sticks and were throwing unknown liquid at officers.
Police said protesters needed to disperse or they would be using “crowd-control agents.”
Portland police said officers arrested a man protesting Friday evening who was wanted in connection with a November protest-turned-riot. When Billy Ellison, 18, was arrested he had a torch, knife and gas mask, police said.
He was booked into jail on two counts of interfering with public transportation.
In Seattle, anti-Trump protesters marched to the University of Washington where far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos (yuh-NAH’-poh-lihs) was speaking.
Yiannopoulos writes for right-wing Breitbart News and is known for leading a harassment campaign that resulted in a lifetime ban from Twitter.
The Seattle Fire Department tweeted a man was shot Friday night and was taken from campus to Harborview Medical Center. His injury could be life-threatening. No further details were given.
Earlier in Seattle, protesters from Capitol Hill and Central District neighborhoods streamed downtown for an afternoon immigrant and refugee rights rally. Carrying signs that said “Fight Racism & Sexism” and “Resist Trump,” people from the earlier rallies met at Westlake Park downtown Friday afternoon.
People rallied and listened to speeches before resuming a march Friday evening, blocking traffic in some downtown areas.
Seattle officers at the park had confiscated wooden poles, heavy pipes and hammers, Seattle police said on Twitter.
Police also said officers were investigating reports of people in the crowd with fireworks and rocks.
About 200 protesters gathered on the Capitol steps in Olympia, carrying signs that included “Resist Trump” and “Not My President.”
Later Olympia police reported that about 100 people marched through downtown, causing some traffic disruptions.
In Portland, there was a student walkout at Portland State University a couple of hours before the flag-burning.
Loren Ford and his wife, Judy Arter, stood watch with a sign that read “Impeach Trump.”
The couple traveled to Portland from the small town of Lebanon, Oregon to protest because they felt Trump was not fit for office due to conflicts of interest and his rejection of intelligence community reports that Russia had been involved in influencing the election.
“I think he needs to be investigated right off the bat,” Ford said.
Patricia Elliott, of Portland, said she felt compelled to attend the march and could not bring herself to watch the inauguration earlier on TV.
“I’d feel like I was saluting to fascism, for example, and I don’t want to participate in that at all.” she said.
Some businesses in Portland’s downtown announced they would close early because of the anticipated crowds. Owners of some establishments boarded up windows to prevent damage.
Portland protests after Trump’s election last November turned violent when a small group of demonstrators smashed windows, spray-painted buildings and started small fires. The demonstration caused about $1 million in damage, police have said.
The organizer of what is expected to be the largest protest on Friday said he met with newly elected Mayor Ted Wheeler to discuss how to keep the rally peaceful.
The event’s goal is aimed at Trump and at putting pressure on local elected officials to make Portland “a sanctuary city, not just in the immigration sense of the word, but in every sense of the word,” said Gregory McKelvey, the leader of Portland’s Resistance.
“I probably wouldn’t have had a meeting with the mayor if I couldn’t put 10,000 people in the streets,” he said.