During the exact hours U.S. President Donald Trump was being inaugurated, a tide of mass arrests engulfed the steps of Capitol Hill as police took nearly 230 people into custody. Now, a total of 214 of them have been indicted on felony rioting charges.
Felony riot charges carry a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to US$25,000. On Tuesday, a grand jury in D.C. charged five more people, in addition to the 209 others that were indicted earlier this month.
The indictment criticized the protesters' “Black Bloc” tactics, referring to how the defendants concealed their identity with dark black clothing and accessories and alleged that they smashed windows, destroyed a government vehicle and committed other “violent and destructive acts.”
What’s being cast as a massive new wave of repression also swept up legal observers and journalists who were there on the job. The day saw the deployment of riot police, the National Guard, Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard and the Secret Service, as well as heavy surveillance.
Police used tear gas, stun grenades, water cannons and pepper spray on demonstrators, many of whom were a part of the anti-capitalist and anti-fascist bloc, Disrupt J20 Collective.