Violent and destructive Inauguration Day protests escalated Friday afternoon ahead of the ceremonial parade, as demonstrators smashed window fronts and clashed with police — who used pepper spray and tear gas to try and control the crowd.
Authorities said roughly 90 people have been arrested so far.
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In the downtown Washington area, blocks north of the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route, black-clad protesters hurled rocks at police in riot gear who used pepper spray and explosives, known as “flash bangs,” in response.
At least three officers from the Metropolitan Police Department, the District of Columbia’s agency, suffered non-life-threatening injuries related to demonstrators smashing several storefronts shortly after noon — damaging a Bank of America, Starbucks and McDonald’s about four blocks east of the White House.
A car in the area also was reportedly set on fire.
MPD Chief Peter Newsham said the rioters caused “significant damage” to the businesses and that a bystander also was injured.
Members of Black Lives Matter forced the Secret Service to close one checkpoint after hours of sitting in front of the gates and chaining themselves to fences to keep visitors from getting to the parade and other official inauguration events.
Multiple citizens reported being assaulted as they attempted to make their way to inauguration festivities.
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