WASHINGTON, D.C. — During Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, protesters from all over the country converged on Washington Friday, leading to at least 95 arrests, according to Washington, D.C., police.
Protesters, setting fire to trash cans and smashing windows in the downtown area of the nation’s capital, clashed with police in riot gear a couple hours after the noon inauguration. Police sprayed tear gas into the group, who were only blocks away from the parade route.
This followed earlier protests that turned destructive, when at approximately 10:30 a.m., protesters armed with hammers and crowbars engaged in a concerted act of vandalism, according to a Metropolitan Police Department press release. Members of the group damaged police vehicles, destroyed business property, and set several small fires, police said.
Police said they used pepper spray and other crowd control devices to stop the morning protests and arrested several of the protesters, who were charged with rioting. Two officers sustained minor injuries from protesters who were trying to avoid arrest, according to the release.
During Trump’s swearing in, some in the crowd began chanting “We the people,” in opposition to the new president.
Supporters of Trump, meanwhile, booed at the arrival of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.
Max Lombardo, 24, from Ocean City, New Jersey, and Katelyn Rembecki, 24, from Wilmington, Delaware, said that they wanted to participate in the protests but that they could not find any organized group that they could join. Lombardo carried a sign on 7th Street at about 1 p.m. that read “Putin Picked Our President.”
“Everyone focuses on his sexism, racism and xenophobia,” Lombardo said of Trump, “but his policies are just as bad, if not worse.”
The Poor People’s Economic Rights Campaign continued its three-day, non-violent protest in Washington on Inauguration Day, according to Bruce White, a member of the group’s national committee.
The Poor People’s campaign gathered with protesters to march in an anti-Trump parade, according to White. He said police intervened in the parade using heavy force.
“We have injuries here,” White told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. White said that after the police pepper sprayed them, many members of his group retreated to Franklin Square Park, where the group’s main stage was located.
The ANSWER Coalition, or the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition, had a permitted protest at the Navy Memorial, along the parade route. Titled “Protest at the Inauguration: Stand Against Trump, War, Racism and Inequality,” the group’s call to action was to “#InaugurateTheResistance.”
Protesters with the ANSWER Coalition said that they did not want to speak with reporters.
Hunter Nguyen, a 20-year-old resident of Frederick, Maryland, traveled to the District with his friend to protest with the ANSWER Coalition at its main stage. Nguyen emphasized the need for change through a direct message to Capital News Service saying, “We need a real leader, a real president who is for the people, (who will) support the people and support his country.”
DisruptJ20, which calls Trump’s administration a regime, gathered to disrupt the security checkpoint entrances of the inauguration, according to the group’s website.
According to The Hill newspaper, DisruptJ20 protesters shut down a John Marshall Point security checkpoint.
DisruptJ20 on Thursday did not respond to emails or calls made to group representatives, and some voicemail boxes were full; calls went unanswered on Friday.
Small groups and lone protesters were also sprinkled throughout the streets after Trump’s inauguration.
Bassam Shawl, 23, of New York City, and Chloe Zomnir, 24, of Pittsburgh, held their anti-Trump signs on the intersection of 7th Street and Independence Avenue.
Shawl said he was protesting the inauguration to “demonstrate (Trump) is not a popular president” and to “show solidarity” with his Middle Eastern culture, which he said was under attack during the presidential campaign.
Zomnir told Capital News Service that she was the only person in her family who didn’t vote for Trump. “I don’t have any words for this election,” she said, holding back tears.
Trump’s campaign rallies were occasionally violent, with clashes between Trump supporters and protesters. A campaign rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago was cancelled after anti-Trump protests became violent in March.
Trump spoke out against protests at his rallies, stating that he would like to punch a protester in the face at a February rally in Las Vegas. Trump claimed that the protester threw punches at the rally and said that he missed the good old days when he could punch back, according to Politico.
More protesters plan to converge in Washington on Saturday for the Women’s March. More than 200,000 people on Facebook have confirmed that they will be attending the protest. The march aims to send a message to the new administration that women’s rights are the same as human rights, according to the organizer’s website.