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Battle Track the Inauguration SITREP 1830E

At 0800 on 20 January 2017, Forward Observer’s Analysis & Control Element (ACE) began battle tracking civil disturbances in the Capitol area of Washington DC during the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. What follows is the Situation Report as of 1830hrs Eastern. You can view the battle tracking map here.



Thousands of protestors participated in a series of civil disruptions, although those activities failed to reach the intensity and volume initially described in the weeks leading up to the Inauguration. Beginning on the morning of 20 January, protestors were successful in disrupting pedestrian checkpoints that allowed guests access to the Observation Area of the Inauguration. By 0800hrs, the Red Gate was “shut down” due to protestors blocking the entrance, and then reports came in later that the Blue Gate was also blocked. There were road closures reported throughout the day as protestors clogged the I-395 corridor and at least one tunnel in the area. US Park Police responded and eventually cleared protestors off I-395.

But by far, the most violent area spanned several blocks around the 12th and 15th Street intersections with K and L Streets. National Guard troops were deployed to secure the area, and we had numerous reports of law enforcement deploying tear gas and flash bangs to clear protestors from the area. Initial reports around 1050hrs indicated that rioters armed with crowbars and hammers began to break the windows of vehicles in the area, which prompted the law enforcement response. Violent elements of the protestors also smashed windows of a local Bank of America and a Starbucks. A Periscope live stream captured the protestors as they rushed a police skirmish line, but were ultimately pinned in by police. By 1100hrs, there were reports of mass arrests. By the afternoon, there were reports of at least 1,000 protestors in the immediate area. This K Street area remained a problem for law enforcement throughout the day, as protestors continued to light fires in trash cans and in the streets.



The last official number of arrests published by law enforcement was 217, despite hundreds taking part in violent activity. All arrests were related to the events in the area of 13th and K Streets, and all 217 of those arrested will be charged with rioting. The 217 arrested will be held overnight and released in the morning. Vandalism and destruction of property were the most common crimes committed, although violence towards police offers and Inauguration attendees were well-documented. A total of six police officers were injured, and several other civilians were also injured. In an official statement, law enforcement agencies are still expecting further unrest tonight. Tomorrow, marches and anti-Trump protests will continue. “We’re prepared for the worst, and are hoping for the best,” said the DC Metro Chief of Police.


We’re continuing to track this situation as it unfolds tonight.  You can support the efforts of Forward Observer here.




Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now runs Forward Observer, an intelligence services company.


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