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Police clashed with protesters in D.C. as Trump became president

UPDATE (Jan. 20, 6:29 p.m.):

Note: This story has been updated to clarify the crowd control methods used on protesters. Canisters dispersing chemical spray were used, according to witnesses. Standoffs between protesters and police continued into the afternoon, as officers employed smoke canisters, pepper spray, flash grenades and water cannons to disperse protesters attempting to disrupt the inaugural parade that carried President Donald Trump from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. The Metropolitan Police Department reported at least 217 arrests over the course of the day and several minor injuries to officers.


One group of protesters built a small bonfire using trash cans on K Street, blocks away from the parade route. Nearby, someone threw a brick at a police car, breaking the window.

Dwayne Quattlebaum, 25, was selling Trump hats with the pro-Trump slogan “Make America Great Again” for supporters to throw into the growing fire. They cost $5 each.

Nearby, a parked limousine was set ablaze.

Other less violent demonstrations continued throughout the city. As the new president dined at the inaugural luncheon, hundreds of other protesters were marched past McPherson Square in downtown Washington. The crowd carried signs with messages such as “you’re racist, go home,” and chanting “Trump and Pence are illegitimate.”

D.C. police told News 4 that tear gas had not been used on protesters.

Original story:

As President Donald Trump took the oath of office Friday, police in riot gear fired cans of tear gas and used pepper spray to control a crowd of at least 200 protesters throwing trash cans and damaging storefronts just blocks away from the ceremony.

Police arrested at least 10 people during the protest, which started about 10:30 a.m. when a crowd of people dressed in black marched down L St. near McPherson Square, just blocks from the National Mall, chanting slogans such as “whose streets, our streets.”

The crowd smashed the storefronts of a Starbucks and a McDonald’s. Some of the protesters wore ski masks and goggles, and some wore gas masks chanting, “This is what a police state looks like.”


Julie, 21, a student who did not give her last name, told VICE News she wasn’t surprised the situation had escalated. “People are mad, look at how many people police killed last year,” she said.

At 11 a.m. the group was corralled at an intersection as police vehicles blocked the road. Protesters held signs reading “How did we let hate win.” When police holding large riot shields led away one protester the crowd chanted “let him go.”

By 11:45 more police vehicles, including horses and helicopters, arrived on the scene.

At noon, police began leading away protesters whose hands were wrapped with plastic ties. At least ten people were led away, according to an observer from the National Lawyers Guild, an independent organization that monitors protest activity.

The Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement following the incident multiple people were arrested, and two uniformed officers sustained minor injuries from “coordinated attacks by members of the group that were attempting to avoid arrest.”

“The group damaged vehicles, destroyed the property of multiple businesses, and ignited smaller isolated fires while armed with crowbars, hammers and asps,” the statement said, while noting that investigation into the incident remains ongoing.