Three people have been injured and 217 arrested in rioting in Washington D.C. that began on the morning of the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.

Police used pepper spray and stun grenades as scuffles broke out several blocks from the inauguration parade, while a mile from the National Mall, authorities chased a group of around 100 people who smashed windows of buildings.

Among the three people injured were two police officers. All three people are receiving hospital treatment for non-life threatening injuries.

A statement released by police in D.C. said that this morning "an organized group was observed marching south in Northwest Washington. On their way, members of the group acting in a concerted effort engaged in acts of vandalism and several instances of destruction of property.

"More specifically, the group damaged vehicles, destroyed the property of multiple businesses, and ignited smaller isolated fires while armed with crowbars, hammers, and asps," the statement added.

Problems began shortly before the inauguration was due to start, and escalated after Trump was sworn in, with reports of protesters hurling bricks and concrete at police, who charged people and used pepper spray, the Associated Press reported.

Police also cordoned people off in some areas of the city, with streets closed in some cases.

As protesters faced off against police, a limousine was set on fire and other small fires were lit in the streets.

DC's acting police chief Peter Newsham told CNN: "We have been pointing out all along that this is a very isolated incident and by and large everything is going peacefully and a lot of folks have come to the city to enjoy this historic day, not only the Capitol but walking all around the city."

Newsham explained there had been problems with several hundred demonstrators but that the majority of people had protested peacefully.

However, one protester, speaking to IBTimes UK in Washington D.C. described the police reaction to protests as "disgusting".

"I'm not surprised, where I'm from this is how we are commonly treated at protests. It doesn't make it right," said the women, who did not want to be named.

"I was a part of a chapter of Refuse Fascism from the Bay (in San Francisco) and it's all organising direct action to stop the Trump Pence regime. Our objective was before it starts but since he was inaugurated today our new objective is every day until it's over.

"We're going to stay on the streets and keep fighting peacefully," she added.

Further protests are planned tomorrow, when The Women's March will take place in Washington D.C. and in cities around the US and globally, with events scheduled to take place in 60 different countries.