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Donald Trump's inauguration: Police deploy pepper spray as protesters smash windows near Capitol in Washington

Police have deployed pepper spray in a chaotic confrontation streets from Donald Trump's inauguration as protesters registered their rage against the incoming president.

Spirited demonstrations unfolded peacefully at various security checkpoints near the Capitol in Washington as police helped ticket-holders get through to the inaugural ceremony.

Signs read: "Resist Trump Climate Justice Now", ''Let Freedom Ring" and ''Free Palestine."

But at one point, police chased a group of about 100 protesters who smashed the windows of city centre businesses as they denounced capitalism and Mr Trump.

Police in riot gear used pepper spray from large canisters and eventually cordoned off the protesters, who shouted "Hands up, don't shoot," as a helicopter hovered overhead.

The confrontation happened about an hour before Mr Trump's swearing-in at the Capitol.

Closer to that scene, lines for ticket-holders entering two gates stretched for several streets at one point as protesters clogged entrances.

Earlier, the DisruptJ20 coalition, named after the date of the inauguration, had promised that people participating in its actions in Washington would attempt to shut down the celebrations, risking arrest when necessary.

Trump supporter Brett Ecker said the protesters were frustrating but were not going to spoil his day.

"They're just here to stir up trouble," said the 36-year-old public school teacher.

"It upsets me a little bit that people choose to do this, but yet again it's one of the things I love about this country."

At one checkpoint, protesters wore orange jumpsuits with black hoods over their faces to represent prisoners in US detention at Guantanamo Bay.

Eleanor Goldfield, who helped organise the Disrupt J20 protest, said protesters wanted to show Mr Trump and his "misguided, misinformed or just plain dangerous" supporters that they will not be silent.

Black Lives Matter and feminist groups also made their voices heard.

Most Trump supporters walking to the inauguration past Union Station ignored protesters outside the train station, but not Doug Rahm, who engaged in a lengthy and sometimes profane yelling match with them.

"Get a job," said Mr Rahm, a Bikers for Trump member from Philadelphia.

"Stop crying ... Trump won."

Outside the International Spy Museum, protesters in Russian hats ridiculed Mr Trump's praise of President Vladimir Putin, marching with signs calling Mr Trump "Putin's Puppet" and "Kremlin employee of the month."

More demonstrations were planned for later in the day.

For one DisruptJ20 event, a march beginning at Columbus Circle outside Union Station, participants were asked to gather at noon, the same time as Mr Trump's swearing-in as the 45th president.

The route for the march, which organisers called a "Festival of Resistance," ran about 1.5 miles to McPherson Square, a park about three streets from the White House, where a rally featuring the film-maker and liberal activist Michael Moore was planned.

"We're going to throw a party in the streets for our side," organiser David Thurston told reporters last week, adding that drummers, musicians and a float of dancers were planned for the march.

Along the parade route, the ANSWER Coalition anti-war group planned demonstrations at two locations.

Protesters and supporters of Mr Trump clashed on Thursday evening outside a pro-Trump event in Washington.

Police used chemical spray on some protesters in an effort to control the unruly crowd.

Hundreds gathered outside the National Press Club in central Washington, where the "DeploraBall" was being held.

The name is a play on a campaign remark by Hillary Clinton, who once referred to many of Mr Trump's supporters as a "basket of deplorables".

The demonstrations will not end when Mr Trump takes up residence in the White House.

A massive Women's March on Washington is planned for Saturday.

Christopher Geldart, the District of Columbia's homeland security director, has said 1,800 buses have registered to park in the city on Saturday, which could mean nearly 100,000 people coming in just by bus.

Obamas, Clintons and Bernie Sanders arrive at Capitol as the world prepares for 45th president of United States

Massive crowds of supporters and opponents have gathered in the city to see the real estate mogul and reality television star - who upended US politics and energised voters angry with Washington - being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

As Barack Obama left the White House for the final time, ebullient Trump supporters flocked to the US capital for the inaugural festivities, many wearing red hats emblazoned with his "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan.

But in a sign of deep divisions sown during his combative campaign, dozens of Democratic legislators are boycotting the swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill.

Mr Trump started the day on Twitter, writing: "It all begins today! I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES - THE WORK BEGINS!"

While Mr Trump came to power bucking convention, he wrapped himself in the traditional pomp and pageantry that accompanies the peaceful transfer of power.

After attending church with his family, and meeting Mr Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for tea at the White House, the Trumps and the Obamas travelled together in the presidential limousine for the short trip to the Capitol.

Trump supporters started lining up at security checkpoints before dawn to take their places on the National Mall for the quadrennial rite of democracy.

Protesters were also out in force, amid intermittent rain, with many trying to block access to the National Mall for Trump supporters, and others roaming through nearby streets smashing shop windows.

Trump aides said the president-elect had been personally involved in crafting his inaugural address, a relatively brief 20-minute speech to a crowd of hundreds of thousands, expected to centre on his vision for what it means to be an American.

Spokesman Sean Spicer said the address would be "less of an agenda and more of a philosophical document".

Mr Trump has pledged to upend Mr Obama's major domestic and national security policies, including repealing his signature health care law and building a wall along the US-Mexico border.

But he has offered few details of how he plans to accomplish his agenda, often sending contradictory signals.

The three days of inaugural festivities kicked off on Thursday. The president-elect left his Trump-branded jet in New York and flew to Washington in a government plane, saluting an Air Force officer as he descended the steps with his wife, Melania.

He and the incoming vice president, Mike Pence, laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery before joining supporters for an evening concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

"We're going to unify our country," he said at the close of the two-hour concert featuring country star Toby Keith, soul's Sam Moore and the Piano Guys. But not singer Jennifer Holliday: She backed out after an outcry from Trump critics.

All of the living American presidents are attending the swearing-in ceremony, except for 92-year-old George HW Bush, who was taken to hospital this week with pneumonia. His wife Barbara was also admitted to hospital after falling ill.

Mr Trump tweeted his well-wishes to the Bushes, saying he was "looking forward to a speedy recovery".

Mr Obama, who will continue to live in Washington, is leaving town with his family after the inauguration for a vacation in Palm Springs, California. He plans to address a farewell gathering of staff at Joint Base Andrews before boarding his last flight on the military aircraft that ferries presidents on their travels.


Party time in Moscow?

Russian officials and legislators have hailed Donald Trump's inauguration, while revellers in Moscow and elsewhere gathered for celebrations as bar and club owners sought to cash in on public excitement.

Mr Trump's promises to fix ravaged relations with Moscow have elated Russia's political elite amid spiralling tensions with Washington over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the US election.

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said that while Mr Trump's policy towards Russia is unclear, "we are hoping that reason will prevail".

"We are ready to do our share of the work in order to improve the relationship," he said on Facebook.

Mr Trump's praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised expectations that he could move to normalise ties, even though he has not articulated a clear Russia policy and some of his cabinet nominees have made hawkish statements on Moscow.

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, predicted that Russia will have a pragmatic but tough partner in Mr Trump.

"Russia's potential is incomparable to that of the United States," he said, adding that Moscow will have to apply a lot of skills "to play from the position of weakness and not lose".

Despite the uncertainty, many Russians looked at Mr Trump's presidency with high hopes, and some nightclubs and bars called parties to celebrate the inauguration.

At one Moscow nightclub, several dozen people began toasting Mr Trump late on Thursday.

Willi Tokarev, 82, a singer who emigrated to the US in the mid-1970s and later became a major music star in Russia, topped the entertainment bill with his song Trumplissimo America!

"Trump, Trump - symbol of America. Trump, Trump, he's really president," the mustachioed Tokarev sang on a tiny stage with Russian and American flags hanging behind him.

Across from the US embassy compound in central Moscow, the Russian Army store put up a poster with Mr Trump's picture, offering inauguration day discounts of 10% for Americans.

There is a broad feeling in Russia's political and business elites that relations with Washington cannot get any worse.

"Russia hopes that under Trump there will be no ideology, no attempts to lecture about democracy, human rights and rights of smaller nations around its borders ... but primarily deal with economic issues in a businesslike way and even tacitly divide spheres of influence," said Alexei Arbatov, a senior researcher with the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, a government-funded Moscow think tank.

"Putin and (Barack) Obama spoke different languages, they didn't understand one another. There is a hope that Trump and Putin will speak the same language, even though their positions may differ."

Leonid Slutsky, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said: "Constructive approach and pragmatism have practically disappeared from the Russia-US agenda during Obama's presidency."

Mr Medvedev, who served as president in 2008-12 when Mr Putin had to shift into the premier's seat due to term limits, presided over a period of warmer ties during Mr Obama's first term. He sharply criticised the outgoing administration for ruining relations with Moscow by attempting to treat Russia like a "banana republic" and relying on "brute force and sheer pressure" in its dealings with Moscow.

"Conclusion: The Obama administration has destroyed relations between the United States and Russia, which are at their lowest point in decades," Mr Medvedev said.

He denounced the sanctions the US and its allies imposed on Russia over its action in Ukraine, saying they "have reduced our co-operation to zero".

"It doesn't get any dumber than restricting entry to the United States for the leadership of the Russian parliament, ministers, and businessmen, thus deliberately reducing the possibility of full-fledged contacts and closing the window to co-operation," he said.

 

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