Protesters were blasted with tear gas after violence erupted across Washington ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony.
Black clad protesters tore through downtown Washington, smashing store and car windows and symbols of capitalist America.
Windows from a Bank of America branch, a Starbucks and a McDonald’s restaurant were among the targets.
There were clashes with police in riot gear who used flash grenades, tear gas and pepper spray to subdue and arrest members of the crowd.
Journalists covering the protest were among those who were arrested. Russia Today’s Alexander Rubinstein reported being hit with a flash grenade before he was arrested, along with others.
About 500 people, some wearing masks, marched through the city’s downtown, using hammers to claw up chunks of pavement to smash the windows of a Bank of America branch and a McDonald’s outlet, all symbols of the American capitalist system.
The crowd chanted anti-Trump slogans and carried signs with slogans including “Make Racists Afraid Again,” a play on the New York businessman-turned-politician’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. The incident occurred about 90 minutes before Trump was sworn in at the Capitol a mile and a half (2.4 km) away.
A group of about 50 people were detained by police, and the city’s Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that numerous people had been arrested and charged with rioting. Two police officers sustained minor injuries from people who were trying to avoid arrest, they said.
“The message I want to send is that Trump does not represent this country. He represents the corporate interests,” said Jessica Reznicek, a 35-year-old Roman Catholic aid worker from Des Moines, Iowa, who was part of the protest but did not participate in the violence.
Not far from the White House, protesters scuffled with police, at one point throwing aluminum chairs at an outdoor café. Bob Hrifko, a member of the “Bikers for Trump” group in town to celebrate the inauguration, was struck in the face when he tried to intervene.
“I know, law and order and all that. We need more order. This ain’t right,” said Hrifko, who was bleeding from a cut under his eye.
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