anti-trumpAnti-Trump protesters tangle with police outside of the DeploraBall at the National Press Building, on Jan. 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Demonstrators burned a Trump hat.

A weekend of protests over the inauguration and presidency of Donald Trump began Thursday night with police in Washington, D.C., using pepper spray on protesters demonstrating outside a pro-Trump event.

Hundreds rallied outside the National Press Club, where the event billed as DeploraBall, was being held, NBC Washington reported. Some demonstrators set off smoke devices in the middle of the crowd, and police in riot gear blocked entrance to the dinner.

“Impeach the predatory president,” read one of two messages projected onto the building’s façade. Crowds chanted “Nazi scum” at those who entered. Some of the protesters were with the group Refuse Fascism.

Police said they arrested a 34-year-old D.C. man near the event and charged him with conspiracy to commit an assault and were looking for two others, NBC Washington reported.

At one point, demonstrators burned a Trump hat. An inflated elephant — a commonly used mascot for the Republican Party — was displayed adorned by a banner with the word “racism” on it.

The demonstration in D.C. was one of several held elsewhere in opposition to Trump Thursday, including a “unity” demonstration outside Trump International Hotel in New York, which was attended by actors Robert De Niro, Sally Field and Mark Ruffalo.

They could be a small taste of what’s to come. Dozens of groups have been planning for weeks to descend on the city’s capitol during inauguration week and make their opposition to the incoming president known.

Some, like the ANSWER Coalition — which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism — are planning to be a vocal and visible presence near the inauguration, but not to engage in any potentially illegal activities.

Others, like the pro-marijuana legalization group DCMJ, are advocating on behalf of a specific policy priority. Marijuana use is legal in Washington, and DCMJ plans to pass out thousands of marijuana cigarettes, or joints, for supporters to smoke during Trump’s inaugural speech, to show support for legalization.

But still others hope to create some chaos. That’s the case with Disrupt J20, a group organizing a series of protests with the direct aim of disrupting the inauguration.

“We must take to the streets and protest, blockade, disrupt, intervene, sit in, walk out, rise up, and make more noise and good trouble than the establishment can bear,” reads the group’s manifesto.

And the biggest protest, set for Saturday, could be history-making. That’s when the Women’s March on Washington is expected to draw 200,000 protesters to the streets of D.C., a number that Inaugural Historian Jim Bendat said could break records.

“It’s quite noteworthy. If they get those kinds of numbers, it will far exceed any previous inaugural protest,” he said.

Overall, the National Park Service has approved 22 permits for First Amendment events ranging in size from 50 to 200,000 people for inauguration week. Though many protest organizers state outright they have no plans to break any laws or create any altercations, city and federal law enforcement agencies have been working together in preparation for every security concern.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has said more than 3,000 police officers from other regions and 5,000 National Guardsmen will be on-hand to help secure the parade route.

“Security is my greatest concern,” Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, has said. “No question that on inaugural day, this would be the most appealing target in the world.”

Read full on http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/inauguration-2017/anti-trump-protesters-pepper-sprayed-eve-inauguration-outside-deploraball-d-n709321

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