As Donald Trump made his way to Capitol Hill to kick off his inauguration ceremony, chaotic protests broke out on the perimeter of the security zone in Washington, D.C.
Spirited demonstrations unfolded peacefully at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through to the inaugural ceremony. Signs read, “Resist Trump Climate Justice Now,” ”Let Freedom Ring,” ”Free Palestine.”
But about an hour before Donald Trump’s official oath ceremony, police gave chase to a group of about 100 protesters who smashed the windows of downtown businesses as they denounced capitalism and Trump. Police in riot gear used pepper spray from large canisters and eventually cordoned off the protesters.
The demonstrators shouted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” echoing a slogan adopted at protests after police shot Michael Brown to death in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.
Trump supporter Brett Ecker said the protesters were frustrating but weren’t going to put a damper on his day.
“They’re just here to stir up trouble,” said the 36-year-old public school teacher. “It upsets me a little bit that people choose to do this, but yet again it’s one of the things I love about this country.”
More demonstrations are planned for later in the day, including a rally featuring the filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore.
Protests are expected to continue through out the weekend with a massive Women’s March on Washington planned for Saturday. Christopher Geldart, the District of Columbia’s homeland security director, has said 1,800 buses have registered to park in the city Saturday, which could mean nearly 100,000 people coming in just by bus.
Story by The Associated Press.