Mere hours after Donald Trump was sworn into office, police clashed with protesters in Washington just a couple of blocks from the inaugural parade route.
CNN reported that at least 95 people have been arrested so far.
Riot police used pepper spray and boom devices — perhaps flash grenades — to try to disperse the demonstrators at 12th and K Streets in downtown Washington. Windows were smashed at a McDonalds, Starbucks, and Bank of America, newspaper kiosks were set on fire, and some vehicles were damaged. Variety‘s Cynthia Littleton reported that a limousine bore the brunt of damage, with a window smashed in. It was later set on fire. “Guys, that’s what they want,” one demonstrator trying to convince others not to smash things.
The violent protesters — many of whom wore masks to conceal their idenities — were described as small in number and anarchists.
Authorities moved into try to disperse the protesters after rocks were thrown at police, according to media reports.
President Trump, Vice President Pence and their spouses are currently on Capitol Hill for a congressional luncheon and had yet to make his way down the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue. The route is protected by a security perimeter.
The official inauguration website says the parade performers represent “forty organizations including high school and university marching bands, equestrian corps, first responders, and veterans groups.” 8,000 are expected to attend.
A major demonstration is expected on Saturday when tens of thousands are expected to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. Additional demonstrations are scheduled to take place around the country.
There also was a protest in front of Trump Tower in New York City, where demonstrators were arrested for blocking traffic.