WASHINGTON — At least six police officers were injured and more than 200 protesters were arrested after they smashed windows, damaged cars and threw rocks at police near Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony on Friday.
The police officers were taken to the hospital for undetermined injuries after run-ins with protesters, D.C. Fire spokesman Vito Maggiolo said. The injuries are nonlife threatening.
After the swearing-in ceremony, demonstrators were throwing rocks and bottles at police, who were in riot gear and attempting to disperse the crowd. A large number of police were using smoke and flash-bang devices to try to scatter the protesters.
Acting D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said there were several hundred protesters who were confronting police, while thousands of other demonstrators were acting in a peaceful fashion to get their point across.
Protesters “acting in a concerted effort engaged in acts of vandalism and several instances of destruction of property,” police said in an earlier statement.
“More specifically, the group damaged vehicles, destroyed the property of multiple businesses, and ignited smaller isolated fires while armed with crowbars, hammers, and asps.”
“Pepper spray and other control devices were used to control the criminal actors and protect persons and property,” police said. “During the incident, police vehicles were damaged and two uniformed officers sustained minor injuries from coordinated attacks by members of the group that were attempting to avoid arrest.”
Earlier, a few blocks from the White House, building windows along the street were shattered, vehicle damaged and newspaper stands toppled.
One business owner said there might have been as many as several hundred protesters who swept through the area, some dressed in black.
At one point, police used pepper spray as a group of protesters, many of them wearing masks, ran down 13th Street.
At one checkpoint, about 50 protesters sat down in the street in an attempt to block Trump supporters from entering a secure area to watch the swearing-in ceremony and speech. Not far away, a group of immigration backers staged a “pop up” protest near another check point.