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Some Washington Protests Turn Violent, Over 200 Arrested


Police face off with protesters as Donald Trump is sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States in Washington, D.C., Jan, 20, 2017. (J. Swicord/VOA)

Police face off with protesters as Donald Trump is sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States in Washington, D.C., Jan, 20, 2017. (J. Swicord/VOA)

Protesters disrupted President Donald Trump's inauguration Friday, smashing storefronts, burning vehicles, blocking security checkpoints and leaving a trail of damage as supporters celebrated the new president.

Washington police say they arrested at least 217 people during the day.

Hundreds of protesters descended on the city Friday, with varying agendas. Some held signs and protested peacefully, while others clashed with police and threw rocks and bottles. Police responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

Protesters set a parked limousine on fire in downtown Washington during the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Jan. 20, 2017.

Protesters set a parked limousine on fire in downtown Washington during the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Jan. 20, 2017.

At one point, a burning limousine sent clouds of black smoke into the sky just blocks from Trump's inaugural parade.

Earlier, activists wearing masks shattered the windows of a Bank of America branch and a McDonald's store. A group of people set fire to garbage cans near the White House.

One group of 75 black-clad demonstrators were cornered by police in the entrance of an office building as Trump took the oath of office. That led to a standoff before police were able to arrest the protesters.

Watch: Trump Inauguration Protesters Clash With Police

Peter Newsham, interim chief of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, said many of the demonstrators in this group were armed with crowbars and hammers.

Protesters said they were there to demonstrate against Trump's policies and what they feared could happen during a Trump administration.

"I'm here to protest fascism and the election of Donald Trump, and the rise of right-wing fascism in Western Europe, as well as the U.S.," said a protester, who did want to be identified.

The unidentified D.C. resident told VOA that police had used tear gas, concussion grenades and pepper spray to disperse the protesters, who hid in alleyways and dumpsters. Several loud explosions, followed by smoke, were observed as police moved in to contain the protesters.

WATCH: Protests Turn Violent in D.C.

Elijah Manly, a protester who drove to Washington from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told VOA "growing white fascism and supremacism in America" motivated his protests.

About an hour earlier, a group of protesters advocating for Native American rights blocked a security checkpoint leading to the National Mall. They used chains and a wall of demonstrators to prevent Trump supporters wearing "Make America Great Again" hats from entering.

Police were able to cut the chains, and they protected inauguration attendees as they were screened.

Protesters speak out against the war — and in support of water — as Donald Trump is sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States in Washington, D.C., Jan, 20, 2017. (Victoria Macchi/VOA)

Protesters speak out against the war — and in support of water — as Donald Trump is sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States in Washington, D.C., Jan, 20, 2017. (Victoria Macchi/VOA)

Police say six officers were injured in Friday's protests.

"Three of those were injuries to the head area as a result of being struck by flying objects. All of these injuries are minor and non-life threatening," Newsham said.

He said those arrested would be held overnight and would make court appearances Saturday on charges of rioting.

As night fell, protesters ignited a large bonfire blocks from the White House. Police say they will continue to monitor security around the night's inaugural celebrations.

VOA’s Megan Duzor contributed to this report.

WATCH: Protesters Take to Parade Route

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    Katherine Gypson

    Katherine Gypson is a reporter for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining VOA in 2013, Katherine produced documentary and public affairs programming in Afghanistan, Tunisia and Turkey. She also produced and co-wrote a 12-episode road-trip series for Pakistani television exploring the United States during the 2012 presidential election. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from American University. Follow her @kgyp

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