Arrests After Violence Flares in Some Parts of Capital on Inauguration Day
Violence flared on some streets of Washington, D.C, today as at least some members of a group dressed head to toe in black allegedly smashed the windows of cars and store windows shortly before President Donald Trump took the oath of office.
Over 90 people were arrested, Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said in a Periscope video posted on Twitter.
He added that the problems were caused by one group, “and it’s a very, very small percentage of the number of folks that came here to peacefully assemble in our city.”
Police said in a statement an organized group marched through the northwest part of the city at around 10:30 a.m., and that “members of the group acting in a concerted effort engaged in acts of vandalism and several instances of destruction of property.”
The police statement said the group damaged vehicles, destroyed the property of multiple businesses, and ignited smaller isolated fires” and that police vehicles were among those damaged.
Police said they responded using pepper spray and other control devices.
Dramatic video published on social media, showed men and women using signs and sticks to shatter glass at a Starbucks and a bank.
Chaos then swept the streets as police attempted to chase down the alleged vandals.
The #DisruptJ20 coalition, named after the date of the inauguration, which had promised that its participants would attempt to shut down the inauguration events, tangled with Bikers for Trump, a group clad in leather biker gear that backs the president.
Video on social media showed the two groups exchanging words and blows just prior to the start of inauguration festivities.
Verbal encounters also took place between supporters of the president and dissenters. One Bikers for Trump member chastised protesters, according to a report by the Associated Press.
“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 Russian President Vladimir Putin, marching with signs calling Trump “Putin’s puppet” and “Kremlin employee of the month,” the AP reported.
At the inauguration ceremony itself, protesters could be seen being removed from the premises.
Thousands of protesters fanned out across downtown Washington, D.C., in the morning, including some who tried to block security checkpoints to the inauguration festivities.