Demonstrations turned violent in the nation's capital as protesters clashed with police, damaged vehicles, destroyed property and set small fires in a chaotic confrontation blocks from Donald Trump's inauguration Friday. At least 217 people were arrested.
The majority of the day's protests were peaceful, but police clad in riot gear faced off against hundreds of demonstrators downtown near 12th and K streets, about six blocks from where Trump would soon hold his inaugural parade, D.C. police said.
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Police charged with batons, pepper spray and concussion grenades to disperse crowds. MPD Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham denied claims his agency used tear gas on demonstrators, telling NBC Washington, "We have not deployed tear gas."
The 217 people arrested have been charged with rioting, Newsham said.
Later in the evening, a crowd surrounded a bonfire near 14th and K streets NW, burning newspapers and furniture. Some protesters sat in the middle of intersections to block traffic.
"We're here to protest out of compassion and to be here and to show that, you know, we're all in this together," protester Savannah Ingall told News4.
President Trump supporters and protesters screamed when they came face-to-face along 14th St.
Protests eventually died down and there appeared to be no incidents involving protesters outside of the three inaugural balls.
Before nightfall, a limousine was set on fire a few blocks away from where Trump made his way down Constitution Avenue with a military escort. The fire sent a plume of black smoke into the sky and Fox News crew SUV parked behind the limo also caught fire, officials tell NBC News.
While several peaceful demonstrations unfolded near the Captiol, about a mile away police gave chase to a group of about 300 protesters, who smashed windows of downtown businesses during a pre-inauguration march.
Police dressed in riot gear used pepper spray to quell the disturbance and eventually cordoned off the large crowd near Franklin Square. As protesters fled the scene, six officers suffered "minor injuries" in what Newsham called "coordinated attacks."
Several hours later, the crowd of protesters still at the scene had grown to about 1,000, The Associated Press reported. Some wore gas masks, and had arms chained together.
During the height of the clash, some in the crowd threw newspaper boxes in an attempt to block police and smashed windows of cars, police cruisers and businesses in the area, including along K Street NW.
As officers tried to surround them, protesters hurled rocks and bottles at them. Flash-bang devices could be heard exploding, but it was not immediately clear whether protesters or officers had set them off.
By about 11:30 a.m., police had successfully surrounded about 20 to 30 protesters at the corner of 12th and L streets NW. Police brought in several transport vans and appeared to be preparing to make the first mass arrests of the day.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser condemned the vandalism, saying at a news conference, "We will not tolerate the destruction of our neighborhoods and we absolutely will not tolerate violence against our police officers and the thousands who have joined us to help with the peaceful inauguration."
This raw video from the protests may contain graphic language.[[411356015, C]]
In a series of coordinated demonstrations designed to cut off spectator access, protesters blocked or caused bottlenecks in front of several security checkpoints outside the National Mall in the hours ahead of the swearing in.
Dozens of protesters lined up at the entrance to a seating area on the West Front of the Capitol, holding signs that said "Free Palestine" and "Let Freedom ring."
Some protesters wore orange jumpsuits with black hoods over their faces, showing their disapproval of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Another group of about 10 protesters tied themselves together to block an entrance for ticket holders at 10th and E streets NW. As they sat on the ground, a larger group cheered them on, chanting phrases such as, "We won't be silent."
Eventually, police used pepper spray after things got physical between protesters and supporters. News4's Mark Segraves said "you can taste the pepper spray in the air."
Ticket holders were allowed to make their way through the gate despite the protests. On the other side of the Capitol, things were quiet and orderly at a second gate.
No arrests were made in those incidents, Segraves reported.
Meanwhile, at Union Station, supporters and protesters arriving in the District were able to find some common ground.
Linwood Yarborough, a Trump supporter from South Carolina, spent some time Friday chatting with a man who traveled from California to protest the inauguration.
"I just think it is wonderful to see people pro and con. Freedom is great and we are so fortunate in this country that we can have freedom of speech and we can have a difference of opinion," Yarborough said. "But we should all come together as a nation and move forward, and I hope to see some of that."
In another exchange, a group of Trump supporters from Tennessee asked a protester from New York to take a picture with them. The group laughed and talked as the supporters gave a thumbs-up and the protester gave a thumbs-down.
The ceremony began at about 11:30 a.m. ET with a musical prelude.
Just after noon, Trump took the oath of office, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. Trump then delivered his inaugural address, calling for an "new vision" of "America first."
Stay with NBC Washington for more.
Daniel Barnes contributed to this report.