Protests turned riotous Friday as some 500 people, most of them dressed in black, used crowbars and hammers to smash windows, and started isolated fires in Washington D.C. ahead of Donald Trump’s swearing in ceremony.
The masked activists chanted anti-Trump slogans and broke the windows of a Bank of America branch, a McDonald’s and a Starbucks in D.C.’s downtown area. “Make Racists Afraid Again” read one person’s sign, a play on Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Officers in riot gear responded and used pepper spray on the crowd, and two officers were injured in the melee, according to local TV station WJLA.
“The message I want to send is that Trump does not represent this country. He represents the corporate interests,” said Jessica Reznicek, a 35-year-old from Iowa, who protested but didn’t participate in the violence, according to Reuters.
One couple was carrying a life size cardboard cut-out of Trump when they ran into a group of protestors.
“A protester came over and ripped off the Don’s head,” said Karen Korthaus. “We ran to a pizza shop and taped his head back on.”
Police in D.C. said numerous arrests had been made and several people were charged with rioting.
On Saturday, some 200,000 protestors from around the country are expected to descend on the nation’s capital for a so-called “Women’s March.” Organizers say the event isn’t just about Trump — they’re marching to remind Americans to protect and expand the rights of women.