A TOP cop has vowed to crackdown on vandals as violent demonstrations continue to rattle cities across the US following President Biden's inauguration.
At least 20 people have been arrested nationwide after government buildings were damaged, storefronts were trashed and American flags were burned in the wake of the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.
In Seattle, dozens of protesters marched, chanting expletives at both Trump and Biden, breaking windows at a Starbucks, and demanding the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At least three people were arrested.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, interim police Chief Adrian Diaz announced Saturday that people who destroy property during street protests will be arrested and prosecuted under a tighter new policy coordinated with Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.
“They’ve been focused on lighting fires, they’ve been focused on, you know, breaking windows, and these are things we need to work on,” Diaz said.
Diaz said Seattleites support nonviolent demonstration, ranging from environmental causes to Black Lives Matter.
However, “over Wednesday’s events, it doesn’t matter who is in the presidential office, it really is a matter of understanding that people are just out there for destruction,” he said.
That demonstration’s theme was “Abolish ICE,” the federal immigration-enforcement arm, according to protesters Wednesday.
On the same day, Portland saw an anti-Biden Antifa protest in which rioters carrying stun guns, pepper ball guns and fireworks scuffled with police and damaged an ICE building, police said.
Photographs show marchers carrying signs with phrases including, "We don’t want Biden – we want revenge!" and "We are ungovernable."
There was also damage to the state Democratic Party headquarters, although some people who attended the protest later condemned the violence. At least 15 people were arrested.
In Denver, dozens of demonstrators burned an American flag and yelled epithets at police. At least two people were arrested there.
And in the college town of Bellingham, Wash., Mayor Seth Fleetwood was rushed out of City Hall Friday morning after a mob of rioters stormed the building.
KIRO-TV reporter Deedee Sun tweeted video that appeared to show masked, black-clad protesters taking down the American flag outside and carry it away. She said they also "threw a hot drink" on a different reporter and stole a microphone.
Rioters entered City Hall – but no one was hurt, nothing was damaged and no one was arrested, according to the local Bellingham Herald newspaper.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., where thousands of National Guard troops were deployed to ensure security on Inauguration Day, authorities said there were "no confrontations" with protesters.
An internal FBI bulletin had warned protests would extend around Biden's inauguration.
James Ofsink, president of Portland Forward, a local advocacy group for liberal causes, said he expects the mayhem will continue, The Washingon Post reports.
“Portland is going to continue to be a microcosm of the political divides, especially among the left, that we’re seeing across the country,” Ofsink told the outlet.
“The idea that middle-of-the-road Democrats can say with a straight face that we need to take things slowly or do things in a very deliberate way rubs a lot of people the very wrong way.”
Violent and destructive activity among far-left groups has been increasing nationwide, according to a recent study by the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonprofit policy research group.
Though nearly 70 percent of terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. last year were committed by white supremacists and far-right militia groups, according to the study, the portion led by anarchist and anti-fascist groups rose to 20 percent from 8 percent in 2019.
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