Today marked the official first day of Donald Trump's presidency, one that saw both a chorus of enthusiastic supporters and thousands of protesters dissenting for a wide variety of reasons: his cabinet and White House picks of known white nationalists and racists, his long-held position against climate change, and his stances on women's reproductive rights, affordable health care, and many other issues.
Protests remained mostly peaceful, though some property destruction occurred when anarchists threw rocks at a police vehicle and went as far as to light a limousine on fire. Make no mistake: These were not acts carried out on behalf of the thousands of peaceful protesters who showed up to the Inauguration ahead of Saturday's official Women's March on Washington.
Friday's protesters marched for hours—pre- and post-Trump's Inauguration speech—around Capitol Hill. I witnessed a number of Trump supporters and protesters conversing respectfully while discussing policy issues on which they disagreed, in particular Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act)—not coincidentally, a law that was the subject of Trump's first executive order.
In addition to the public debates, protesters took the streets and created peaceful blockades amid the celebrations.
Protests in McPherson Square also saw enthusiastically-received appearances from civil rights leaders and Michael Moore.
However late Friday afternoon, a group of aggressive protesters began lodging what appeared to be rocks or bricks at police vehicles:
Things escalated when anarchists took over what had been a predominantly peaceful protest near K NW and 13th St. and began throwing rocks through police windows, later setting a limousine on fire:
CNN reported that more than 200 protesters were arrested on Friday alone, ahead of Saturday's official Women's March on Washington. It's yet to be seen what the climate will be Saturday. But the march's careful planning and encouragement of peaceful protesting may very well elicit a much different result than the sometimes-raucous protests of Friday.