Protesters who had promised to shut down the city for the inauguration of President Donald Trump were successful at several security checkpoints Friday morning, as they slowed crowds from entering onto the Mall and, in one spot, stopped them completely.Hope and Change. This is how it ended.
“Shut it down!” protesters shouted at the checkpoint at John Marshall Park.
As protesters at the spot shouted “This is what democracy looks like,” a Trump supporter countered. He pointed to the other side of the fence and said, “This is what democracy looks like but I can’t get to it because of you!”
The protests downtown at times grew violent. Just before 10:30 a.m., a large group of black-clad protesters — self-described as anti-capitalist and antifascist — made their way south on 13th Street near K Street, throwing newspaper boxes and garbage cans into the street and trying to set them on fire, leaving them smoldering. They also broke glass at bus stops and businesses and smashed the windows of a limousine. Loud bangs sounded out from fireworks they lit.
Some carried signs, including one that read: “No peaceful transition.” Police cleaned up behind them as they marched, and authorities used chemical spray in an attempt to disrupt the vandalism. They ultimately herded the group away from the inauguration parade route with a large number of police vehicles and officers in riot gear, and they used concussion grenades — which make a loud noise — to break up the crowd.
Most Trump supporters walking to the inauguration past Union Station ignored protesters outside the train station, but not Doug Rahm, who engaged in a lengthy and sometimes profane yelling match with them.Their job is hate.
"Get a job," said Rahm, a Bikers for Trump member from Philadelphia. "Stop crying snowflakes, Trump won."
Protesters yelled in defiance as Trump was sworn in, hollering loudly and some carrying Hillary Clinton signs. Within moments of the 45th president being sworn in, rain began to fall on the crowd.Because they're the left.
No serious injuries were reported as a result of the skirmishes, although several arrests were made. Protesters also blocked some security checkpoints in the morning, with one Black Lives Matter group chaining themselves to metal barricades.
In northwest Washington, Robert Hrifko, 62, a member of Bikers For Trump, said he was attempting to assist police when he was hit with a rock by an anti-Trump protester. He said the encounter deteriorated into a chair-throwing free-for-all.
"It was just crazy, man," Hrifko said, holding a block of ice to his bloody left eye.
Police quickly moved in and had cornered a group of protesters on L Street, between 12th and 13th. Other protesters chanting, "Let them go!" shouted from behind crime scene tape as officers prepared to make arrests.
Luis Villarroel from Virginia dropped passengers off near the corner of 13th and K Streets NW and then parked in front of the Washington Post building. He got out of his Lincoln MKT limo when he heard loud noises — "hundreds of masked men" coming his way.
"They threw food at me," he said, and started beating his limo. They threw a flare inside the limo, which was still visible on the seat.
"This is my business. Why are you destroying my stuff? It took me years to build," he recounted after the crowd left.
Julie Godshaw, a 27-year-old social work student from Queens, said her goal is simply “to be heard and to represent those who can’t be heard.” But she said this is the start of her commitment to organizing and protesting against Trump’s policies.Unless you work for a living. In which case we'll try to set your car on fire.
“I will fight for you and I will love you with every ounce of my soul,” read her sign, which she said is directed at minority communities that could face the brunt of issues in the new administration.