WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's Inauguration Day was marred by noisy demonstrations, shoving matches and sporadic clashes with cops that resulted in more than 200 arrests.
Three-thousand members of local, state and federal law enforcement — backed by 5,000 National Guard members and police officers from as far away as New Jersey — patrolled the streets as the evening's festivities got under way and the legions of protesters still seething over the Manhattan mogul's unexpected victory threatened more disruptions.
Acting Police Chief Peter Newsham said that by around 6:30 p.m. ET things had calmed down, but authorities were still monitoring several groups.
At the same time, police are preparing for the Women's March on Washington set for Saturday that is expected to draw 200,000 protesters — a number that inaugural historian Jim Bendat said could break records.
The worst fracas on Friday erupted in Franklin Square, about a mile-and-a-half from Capitol Hill, just before Trump's swearing-in ceremony got underway, police said.
Six police officers suffered minor injuries when protesters flung bricks, trash cans and other objects, and ignited small fires, Newsham said.
Four businesses were vandalized and sustained "significant damage," he said. Also, demonstrators torched a limousine, police at the scene said.
All of the 217 people arrested on Friday were charged with rioting, Newsham said. And in some cases cops used flash-bang grenades and pepper spray to keep them from getting closer to the parade route.
Witnesses reported the demonstrators — some of them self-described "anarchists" dressed in black and wearing masks — were taunting police officers to try to get a rise out of them.
"I saw one guy, he was like pushing a cop, kind of antagonizing him, and the cop with the riot shield was banging him back," Johnny Silvercloud, a freelance journalist who was photographing protesters, told NBC News.
One man was accidentally knocked over by protesters, a law enforcement officer told NBC News. He was bleeding from the back of his head as paramedics helped him onto a stretcher.
Friday's violence came after a night of chaotic clashes between police and anti-Trump protesters. And it wasn't just limited to downtown D.C.
Interstate 695, which runs through the capital, ground to a standstill on Friday afternoon when protesters holding signs and waving flags stopped traffic.
To keep protesters out, several security checkpoints were set up around Capitol Hill to screen ceremony ticket holders.
Quickly, these became flashpoints of fury where Trump supporters and opponents came face.
Carrying signs that read "Not my president," "No Islamophobia" and "Black Lives Matter," demonstrators gave the Trump loyalists an earful as they filed through the checkpoints.
Protesters Joni Lipson and Joan Duckenfield, both of Philadelphia, said they were buoyed by the huge turnout of protesters. "It looks like there are more of us than Trump supporters here," Duckenfield said
At the checkpoint on 10th and E Streets, some Trump ticket holders were forced to run a gauntlet through a black-clad brigade of demonstrators who locked arms and refused to let them pass.
When they inadvertently tripped a pro-Trump couple, police immediately pounced and untangled everybody, while the protesters roared "Don't touch me" and "Stop! Stop!" Nobody was arrested.
There were anti-Trump protests in other cities Friday.
Seven people were arrested in New York City during a civil disobedience protest outside Trump Tower. "Resist from day one!" the crowd chanted.
In Chicago, protesters blocked traffic near Trump Tower and on Lake Shore Drive. The windows of at least one business was smashed, and police arrested five people as of 8:30 p.m., NBC Chicago reported. Police in Portland, Oregon, used pepper spray on crowds attempting to cross a bridge, according to NBC affiliate KGW. Police said eggs and ice balls were thrown at officers.