Protesters arrested as riots broke out in Washington D.C. during the inauguration of Donald Trump could face 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
More than 200 people were arrested on Friday as fights broke out, windows were smashed and fires lit in the streets as Americans protested against the 45th President of the United States.
Federal Prosecutors have said most of those arrested will be charged with felony rioting- which can carry a heavy sentence.
Most of the arrests were made in downtown Washington at the time of Trump’s signing-in ceremony.
Riot cops used pepper spray and stun grenades to break up crowds as masked protesters were pictured, some armed with hammers and crowbars.
Confrontations began an hour before Trump took the oath of office and escalated several hours later as the crowds swelled to more than 1,000 some wearing gas masks and with arms chained together.
Shortly before the inaugural Parade, more than 400 protesters clashed with cops just blocks from where the president was due to travel towards the White House.
As the president waved to supporters on Pennsylvania Avenue demonstrators threw stones and set a limo ablaze in Franklin Square Park.
When some protesters crossed police lines, taunting “put the pigs in the ground”, police charged.
At times the city appeared to have become a virtual war-zone and clashes continued throughout the day.
Chaotic confrontations saw pepper spray and stun grenades launched by cops.
Groups fuming about controversial billionaire Republican Trump’s attitude to women, race, immigration, climate change and drugs were among those who took to the streets.
Earlier in the day hostile demonstrations had unfolded at security checkpoints near the Capitol as police in riot gear helped ticket-holders get through to the inaugural ceremony.
Signs read “Resist Trump Climate Justice Now,” “Let Freedom Ring” and “Free Palestine.”
Two police officers sustained minor injuries as a fast-moving group whipped down several main streets, just streets away from the White House.
An AFP Reporter saw National Guardsmen donning riot gear, as masked protesters blocked traffic and set fire to bins chanting “Not my president” and “We resist President Trump.”