Majority of 230 protesters arrested on Inauguration Day will face 10 years in prison and $25k fine as US attorney says they will be charged with felony rioting.
Most of the 230 rioters arrested after violent protests erupted in Washington D.C. following Donald Trump‘s inauguration will be charged with felony rioting, federal prosecutors said on Saturday.
The charge carries a punishment of up to ten years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
Thousand of protesters launched a violent rampage just blocks away from the White House as anti-Trump demonstrators smashed store windows, set fire to cars and threw bricks at police.
Many of those arrested are due to appear in court on Saturday, according to WUSA 9.
Heated clashes broke out in McPherson Square and along K Street as hundreds of riot police fired tear gas and drew their nightsticks to contain the masked mob.
As the rioting unfolded, Trump and his family were arriving at a review stand at the White House to see the end of the inaugural parade.
Militant anti-Trump protesters gave a foretaste of what could follow during the violent outbreaks, which has so far seen 217 people arrested and at least six police officers injured.
Just before the parade started, clashes broke out between more than 400 stone-throwing protesters and riot police in McPherson Square – just blocks from the parade in honor of newly sworn-in president.
As Trump’s motorcade wound its way up Pennsylvania Avenue in the parade to the White House, protesters also descended on Franklin Square Park where they graffitied a stretch limo before setting the vehicle ablaze right outside the Washington Post building.
‘Groups of people started gathering around the limo. There was a sense of something going to happen. People were shouting ‘it’s going to blow’. We tried to move them back,’ DailyMail.com columnist Katie Hopkins, who witnessed the ordeal, said.
‘The inauguration parade for the president is just blocks away from where all this is happening.’
Hopkins said the anarchists set things ablaze and started throwing bricks, stones and rocks.
‘These people are here for this purpose – these guys are here for the fight,’ she said.
SWAT team police in full riot gear moved in spraying pepper spray in a bid to disperse the rioters. Among those where hit were Hawk Newsome, leader of Black Lives Matter in New York.
City police chief Peter Newsham said at least 217 people were arrested and would be held overnight before appearing in front of a judge.
‘The charge is rioting,’ he told reporters. ‘Our intention going into this event was to make zero arrests, and unfortunately they forced our hand.’
Meanwhile, prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer was sucker-punched by a masked protester in the street while giving an interview to journalists.