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Vandalism, fires, & dozens of arrests in DC inauguration protests

Several groups of protesters are taking to the streets of D.C. after President Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony. Officers have arrested 217 protesters. Six police officers were hurt during the protests. 

<p>WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Protesters block the street as they make themselves heard following the inauguration of President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.</p>

Several groups of protesters are taking to the streets of D.C. after President Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony. They're focusing on areas near the parade route and inauguration events.

Officers have arrested 217 protesters. Six police officers were hurt during the protests. Three of them were hit in the head with flying objects. All of them have minor injuries.

PHOTOS: Inauguration Day protesters

PHOTOS: Limo fire amid Inauguration Day protests

9:30 p.m.

A D.C. protester punched Richard Spencer, a leader of the alt-right movement.

A video posted online shows Spencer speaking near 14th and K Streets, which had been a contentious area all afternoon, when suddenly a man approached and punched him twice.

On Twitter, Spencer brushed it off and said he could take a punch. He later went live in a 10-minute video in which he called the assault “a really terrible thing.”

8:45 p.m.

Protesters are trying to disrupt lines outside one of the official inaugural balls in the District.

RELATED: Official inaugural balls underway

WUSA9’s Ellison Barber said protesters blocked Massachusetts Ave. and chanted as attendees filed into the Convention Center for the Liberty and Freedom Ball. It’s one of three inaugural balls President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are attending Friday night.

Protesters were heard chanting “No Trump, No KKK, No fascist USA.”

Police on motorcycles and on foot moved in and forced protest to back away from the lines into the ball.

7:30 p.m.

Protests have flared up again on K Street near Franklin Square, but the crowd is dwindling.

WUSA9’s Pete Muntean said protesters started a couple more fires, mostly in trash cans. Police had to push back protesters, not as a move of aggression, but to let a fire truck drive through.

Police used pepper spray to calm the crowd. About 50 officers remain near the square blocking off K and 14th Streets, Pete said.

6:50 p.m.

Police and protester activity has picked up again on K Street. A line of officers standing shoulder-to-shoulder was seen moving down the street, pushing back protesters. At one point, an officer sprayed pepper spray toward some protesters.

Right now. Police forcing protesters back on K Street. The pepper spray is out. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/5E4I1srjfg

K Street near Franklin Square has been the scene of several protests all day.

6:30 p.m.

Officers have arrested 217 protesters in D.C. after a day of unrest related to President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said the violence left six officers hurt. Three of them were in the head with flying objects. All of them suffered minor injuries and are expected to recover.

Newsham said most of the protesters who were arrested came to Washington with the intent to break the law. He described them as a small group that carried out "unlawful and dangerous behavior." They're facing a variety of charges, including rioting.

The bulk of the criminal acts happened at 10:30 a.m. when 400 to 500 people on 13th Street destroyed property, Newsham said. The protesters were armed with crowbars and threw objects at people and businesses, destroying storefronts and damaging vehicles. Police used pepper spray to diffuse the situation.

Newsham said protesters also threw rocks and bricks at officers. He credited their protective gear for preventing more serious injuries.

The interim police chief commended his officers for showing “excellent judgement.”

“Our goal was to make zero arrests, and it’s unfortunate that they forced our hands in this situation,” Newsham told reporters.

D.C. police continue to monitor several groups of protesters. Newsham said they will stay the course in maintain peace.

“Follow the law,” Mayor Muriel Bowser urged people in town for President Trump’s inauguration. “Exercise your rights, but stop destroying the city.”

Mayor Bowser denounced the acts of violence and said they will not be tolerated in D.C.

As far as non-protester injuries, Newsham did not have a firm number, but knew of one elderly man who sustained a head injury.

6:05 p.m.

WUSA9’s Pete Muntean described the situation at Franklin Square as “unsettled.” The area has been a hotspot for protests all afternoon and into the evening.

Pete said “it seems like more people are showing up by the minute.” While he was live on the air, several protesters tried to interrupt, using profane words and hand motions. Pete also reported smelling marijuana in the air.

The area has gone through peaceful and contentious periods.

Protesters have started several small fires near Franklin Square using garbage cans, newspaper dispensers, and other items.

At one point, protesters set fire to a limo, which previously had been vandalized. Also, a couple blocks down K Street, police wearing riot gear shot flash bombs at the crowd and charged at protesters while lined up shoulder-to-shoulder.

5:45 p.m.

Protesters have started another fire at 14th and K Street NW, where protesters have been clashing with police all afternoon.

WUSA9’s Pete Muntean said people were chanting “no justice, no peace,” while a band played in the background.

The intersection is right by Franklin Square, which has gone through periods of protest and peace since President Trump was sworn into office. As recently as 15 minutes, before Pete spotted the fire, he reported that things were peaceful in the area.

5:20 p.m.

Protesters have gathered outside Trump Hotel at Pennsylvania and 12th in D.C. A WUSA9 crew on the scene described them as peaceful. The crowd was heard cheering "gay lives matter."

5:10 p.m.

Franklin Square, a hotbed of protest activity all afternoon, is calm for now.

WUSA9’s Pete Muntean described the area as going through “ebbs and flows” of protest and peace. More police wearing riot gear are in the area now than they have been all day.

Earlier in the afternoon, protesters threw bricks and police fired back with pepper spray. At one point, someone set fire to a limo that previously had its windows busted out.

Warning: This video contains language some may find offensive.

Muntean said there isn’t one particular group of protesters gathered there, rather a lot of anti-Trump groups that are there for different reasons.

5:00 p.m.

TV host Larry King said the SUV hired to get him around D.C. was vandalized. He tweeted the windows were smashed, along with several other vehicles. King said he was working in-studio at the time and is okay, but his driver is rattled.

4:55 p.m.

Protesters are gathered at the following locations right now, according to the D.C. Police traffic desk:

  • 14th and Pennsylvania Ave. (Freedom Plaza)
  • McPherson Square
  • 13th and K Street
  • 13th and Massachusetts Avenue NW

Drivers trying to get through the area are told to use 11th Street, 15th Street and/or 16th Street as an alternative.

4:30 p.m.

Protesters have set fire to a limo that was previously vandalized in Downtown D.C.

Large flames and thick, black smoke was seen filling up 13th and K Streets, which has been a hotbed of police and protester activity all afternoon. D.C. firefighters quickly put out the blaze.

The limo had its windows busted a couple hours earlier.

WUSA9’s Pete Muntean reported at least a couple hundred people were in the area.

Protesters have set fire to a limo that was previously vandalized in Downtown D.C.

4:15 p.m.

Police were seen attacking protesters with flash bombs on K Street between 12th and 13th. Officers wearing riot gear with their shield drawn formed a line on K Street to push back a group of protesters.

At least 13 flash bombs could be heard while WUSA9's camera was rolling.

At one point the line of officers started charging toward the crowd.

"This is ridiculous. This is what a police state looks like," one witness said.

"This is wild. Like it’s all over one guy. He’s already in now. People have their own feelings about it, but I didn’t think it was going to get to this point," another protester told WUSA9's Scott Broom.

4:00 p.m.

Protesters are holding a sit-in and blocking traffic during rush hour at 13th and Massachusetts NW. Protesters were seen sitting in a circle on the street. They chanted "We're here, we're queer, we have no fear."

3:40 p.m.

Protesters continue to gather at 13th and K Streets NW near Franklin Square. WUSA9's Pete Muntean reported one person burned a T-shirt with President Trump's likeness on it. Several cars in the area have had their windows broken and a couple protesters were seen sitting on top of a limo, which had several windows busted.

3:30 p.m.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham announced they will hold a news conference at 5:30 p.m. to give an update on the protests and public safety related to President Trump's inauguration.

Mayor Bowser called the damage caused by protesters in D.C. “unacceptable.”

3:15 p.m.

Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore addressed a calm crowd of protesters in McPherson Square.

“We have to perform an intervention. It helps us that he has such a thin skin. He can’t stand the fact that people don’t like him. He wants to be loved,” Moore said to the cheering crowd.

2:30 p.m.

Protesters are setting fire to trash cans, garbage, newspaper dispensers, and other items near 13th and K. WUSA9's Pete Muntean showed the pile of smoking items in the middle of the street. A plume of smoke rose above the crowd.

He said police had previously used pepper spray on protesters. Several police were in the area, some of them were wearing riot gear. A strand of officers were seen blocking off K Street between 12th and 13th Streets. Hundreds of people were standing in the area.

A witness told Pete Muntean police used some forceful tactics, including flash bangs, to break up a large group of protesters into smaller groups. A couple witnesses said several people were hurt when police pushed back the crowds. One person told Muntean the rowdier aspects of the crowd had been pushed out of the area and the protest was calm at the time.

Muntean said there were several groups of protesters in the area. Some of them did not have permits to protest.

2:00 p.m.

Protesters are forming human chains, police are using pepper spray and some protesters are damaging public property in D.C. Friday.

Protesters have been flocking into the downtown area and are taking to the streets before Donald Trump is sworn in as president. Several different groups of protesters are scattered across the District voicing their opinions on a variety of issues.

A Black Lives Matter demonstration started outside of the D.C. police headquarters. Protesters chained themselves across the entrance of a checkpoint to block people from getting in. WUSA9's Andrea McCarren tweeted a video showing an incident involving some tension. The tension broke out when a woman with a cane tried to step over the chained demonstrators, McCarren reports. Her husband helped her cross and a fight broke out between him and the demonstrators.

Other protesters have been in the area of 12th and E and F Streets. They could be heard chanting " Say it loud, say it clear refugees are welcome here." Some of these protesters were blocking the entrance at 10th and E Streets so supporters could not get to the checkpoint. Police helped create a path for those trying to get to the checkpoint.

In the same area WUSA9's Mikea Turner reported that a D.C. photographer was down after a scuffle among protesters. The photographer is now seeking medical attention.

Additional violence was reported in the area of 13th and K Streets, where a bus shelter was smashed by protesters. Police had to chase away protesters by using pepper spray. Metropolitan police also had to confront protesters who caused damage in the area of 12th and L Streets. There were reports of a trashed limousine, damaged police cars and damaged store fronts. WUSA9's Pete Muntean reports that dozens of protesters were taken into custody in the area.

Police tell WUSA9 two officers were transported from the 100 block of 13th St and one civilian was transported from 13th and I Streets. The officers were injured while protesters tried to avoid being arrested.

Hundreds of people, including LGBTQ and anti-Trump protesters showed up with signs outside of Union Station to protest Trump's inauguration, WUSA9's Ileana Diaz reports.

McCarren also came across a "Free Palestine" protest in the area of 1st and D Streets at the Blue Gate entrance early Friday morning.

We will continue to provide updates on the protests throughout the city.

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