Anti-Trump protesters pepper sprayed on eve of inauguration outside ‘DeploraBall’ in D.C.

News

A weekend of protests over the inauguration and presidency of Donald Trump began Thursday night with police in Washington, D.C., using pepper spray on protesters demonstrating outside a pro-Trump event.

Hundreds rallied outside the National Press Club, where the event billed as DeploraBall, was being held, NBC Washington reported. Some demonstrators set off smoke devices in the middle of the crowd, and police in riot gear blocked entrance to the dinner.

“Impeach the predatory president,” read one of two messages projected onto the building’s façade. Crowds chanted “Nazi scum” at those who entered. Some of the protesters were with the group Refuse Fascism.

RELATED: Signs from anti-Trump protests around the country

A woman takes part during a protest against President-elect Donald Trump in New York City on November 9, 2016.

(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Demonstrators gather to rally against Donald Trump as President at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common in Boston on Nov. 9, 2016.

(Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

People protest outside Trump Tower following President-elect Donald Trump’s election victory in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Protesters reach Trump Tower as they march against Republican president-elect president Donald Trump in the neighborhood of Manhattan in New York, U.S., November 09, 2016.

(REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Protestors march against Republican Donald Trump’s victory in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

People stage a protest against President-elect Donald Trump of Republican Party in front of the Trump Tower in Chicago, United States on November 9, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A sign reading “Grab Her By The What Mr. President” lies on the ground as people gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as the president of the United States outside of City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon)

Protesters walk during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzacznski/TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

A protester holds a sign during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzacznski)

Protesters hold signs in opposition to the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mary Schwalm)

Cristina Levert, who attended Berkeley High and who has a 17 year-old who attends Berkeley High, holds up a sign during a protest in response to the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Berkeley, California, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage)

A protester holds a sign during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzacznski)

People stage a protest against President-elect Donald Trump of Republican Party in front of the Trump Tower in Chicago, United States on November 9, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Protestors shout slogans during a demonstratioin on 5th Avenue across from Trump Tower on November 9, 2016 in New York, after Donald Trump was elected as the next president of the US.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A protester holds a sign during a protest against Republican president-elect Donald Trump outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kamil Krzacznski)

Protesters demonstrate across the street from Trump Tower after the election selected Republican president-elect Donald Trump in New York, New York, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Demonstrators protest against the election of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump in front of the White House in Washington November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A woman holds a placard at an anti-racism protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump outside of the U.S. Embassy in London, Britain, November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

People gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as the president of the United States outside of City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon)

Protestors march against Republican Donald Trump’s victory in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

Demonstrators gather before start of rally against Donald Trump as President at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common in Boston on Nov. 9, 2016.

(Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Demonstrators hold signs during a rally against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump near Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Manhattan on Wednesday night and converged on Trump Tower in Midtown to protest the election of Donald J. Trump as president.  

(Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A protestor holds a placard on 5th Avenue across the street from Trump Tower on November 9, 2016, after Donald Trump won the election.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A demonstrator holds a sign and protests against Donald Trump’s presidency at Washington Square Park on November 9, 2016 in New York City.

(Photo by Matthew Eisman/WireImage)

A demonstrator carries a placard in protest against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States, across from the Trump International Hotel Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/David Becker)

Up Next

See Gallery




Police said they arrested a 34-year-old D.C. man near the event and charged him with conspiracy to commit an assault and were looking for two others, NBC Washington reported.

At one point, demonstrators burned a Trump hat. An inflated elephant — a commonly used mascot for the Republican Party — was displayed adorned by a banner with the word “racism” on it.

The demonstration in D.C. was one of several held elsewhere in opposition to Trump Thursday, including a “unity” demonstration outside Trump International Hotel in New York, which was attended by actors Robert De Niro, Sally Field and Mark Ruffalo.

They could be a small taste of what’s to come. Dozens of groups have been planning for weeks to descend on the city’s capitol during inauguration week and make their opposition to the incoming president known.

Some, like the ANSWER Coalition — which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism — are planning to be a vocal and visible presence near the inauguration, but not to engage in any potentially illegal activities.

Others, like the pro-marijuana legalization group DCMJ, are advocating on behalf of a specific policy priority. Marijuana use is legal in Washington, and DCMJ plans to pass out thousands of marijuana cigarettes, or joints, for supporters to smoke during Trump’s inaugural speech, to show support for legalization.

Related: D.C. Braces for Tens of Thousands of Protesters During Trump’s Inauguration Week

But still others hope to create some chaos. That’s the case with Disrupt J20, a group organizing a series of protests with the direct aim of disrupting the inauguration.

“We must take to the streets and protest, blockade, disrupt, intervene, sit in, walk out, rise up, and make more noise and good trouble than the establishment can bear,” reads the group’s manifesto.

And the biggest protest, set for Saturday, could be history-making. That’s when the Women’s March on Washington is expected to draw 200,000 protesters to the streets of D.C., a number that Inaugural Historian Jim Bendat said could break records.

“It’s quite noteworthy. If they get those kinds of numbers, it will far exceed any previous inaugural protest,” he said.

Overall, the National Park Service has approved 22 permits for First Amendment events ranging in size from 50 to 200,000 people for inauguration week. Though many protest organizers state outright they have no plans to break any laws or create any altercations, city and federal law enforcement agencies have been working together in preparation for every security concern.

RELATED: Star-studded anti-Trump rally in New York

Up Next

See Gallery




D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has said more than 3,000 police officers from other regions and 5,000 National Guardsmen will be on-hand to help secure the parade route.

“Security is my greatest concern,” Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, has said. “No question that on inaugural day, this would be the most appealing target in the world.”

At Thursday’s D.C. protest, an organizer said police acted acted aggressively and tried to “cattle corral” demonstrators, and hoped the use of pepper spray wouldn’t dissuade other from turning out this weekend. D.C. Anti-Fascist Coalition organizer also said another, rowdier group joined the Thursday’s protest.

“This did not go how we expected it to,” she said.

Stefan Johnson, a Trump supporter who came by to watch Thursday’s demonstration, said it was mostly civil. “There was a little bit of passion on their side which is somewhat understandable I guess,” he said.

Johnson and others with him had some conversations with protesters. “The same old thing: he’s a racist, he’s sexist, he hates immigrants, that’s about it,” Johnson said.

A Twitter account for the DeploraBall event mocked protesters, posting a video of crowds chanting “F— Trump!” with their own message: “Shouting won’t change tomorrow’s outcome … can’t wait to say president @realDonaldTrump.”

Leave a Reply