The mobs of protesters who thought it would be a great idea to destroy Washington DC over the weekend will find themselves facing extremely harsh penalties, say authorities.
Federal prosecutors said on Saturday that a great majority of the 230 rioters arrested after violent protests broke out after President Donald Trump’s inauguration will be charged with felony rioting. This charge carries a punishment of up to ten years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
Thousands of protesters turned violent and unruly at the inauguration. They attacked the police and Trump supporters with rocks, bottles, and bricks. They also burned cars, spray painted public property, and shattered store windows.
As Trump’s motorcade drove its way up Pennsylvania Avenue in the parade to the White House, protesters also descended on Franklin Square Park where they destroyed a stretch limo before setting the vehicle ablaze right outside the Washington Post building.
A columnist for the Daily Mail, Katie Hopkins, was present at the scene and had this to say, “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.”
Luis Villarroel from Virginia was the driver of the limo set on fire.
After dropping passengers off near the corner of 13th and K Street, Villarroel parked in front of the Washington Post building. That is when he heard loud noises and saw hundreds of masked men coming his way.
Villarroel said protesters threw food at him and started beating the limo. They threw a flare inside, which he says is still visible on the seat.
Hopkins said, ‘The inauguration parade for the president is just blocks away from where all this is happening. These people are here for this purpose – these guys are here for the fight.”
According to the Daily Mail, “More than 500 people — many of them wearing masks and handkerchiefs over their faces — marched through the center of DC. They attacked cars and shop windows — they smashed glass panes at the Bank of America, and at a McDonald’s outlet, and a Starbucks shop.”
SWAT team police were dispensed in full riot gear, firing spraying pepper spray, tear gas, and flash-bang grenades at the rowdy crowds in an attempt to disperse the rioters.
Hawk Newsome, the New York leader of Black Lives Matter was hit with pepper spray.
Police Chief Peter Newsham said at least 217 people were arrested and would be held overnight before appearing in front of a judge. Newsham told reporters, “Our intention going into this event was to make zero arrests, and unfortunately they forced our hand.”
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