Pepper-sprayed at the parade

Published January 20, 2005 8:53PM (EST)

Although there do not appear to be massive numbers of protesters in Washington today, the situation has grown more tense over the course of the day as protesters blocked Bush supporters from making their way to the inaugural parade.

In the last few moments, protesters and the D.C. Metropolitan Police have begun to battle through a barricade in front of the Willard Hotel at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. It's not clear what started the fight, but the police have responded by blasting protesters with pepper spray -- despite the fact that the protesters are separated from the police by a 10-foot-high metal fence.

Some protesters have set a small fire on the sidewalk, while others are sitting silently on a curb. The police, in full riot gear, continue to spray anyone who nears the barricade. A man dressed as Jesus carries a sign that says Bush "is not my chosen one." A street person wanders through the crowd shouting, "Remember the fear of the D.C. sniper." Inside the Willard, maintenance workers are sealing the windows and doors with duct tape.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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