Six journalists have been charged with felonies after they were arrested while covering the protests around Donald Trump's inauguration. If convicted they could face a 10 year prison sentence or a $25,000 (£19,879) fine.

The journalists were among more than 230 who were arrested during anti-Trump demonstrations on Inauguration Day after protesters clashed with riot police. They have been charged with the most serious offence under Washington DC's law against rioting.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged authorities to drop the rioting charges. Carlos Lauría, a programme coordinator for the CPJ, said: "These charges are clearly inappropriate, and we are concerned that they could send a chilling message to journalists covering future protests."

Reporters Evan Engel of Vocativ, Alex Rubenstein of RT America, documentary producer Jack Keller, freelancer Aaron Cantu and independent journalists Shay Horse and Matt Hopard, have been released on bail to await further hearings in February and March.

Engel's camera was seized by police. A spokeswoman for the news outlet described the arrest as "an affront to the First Amendment and journalistic freedom. Vocativ will vigorously contest this unfounded and outrageous charge."

RT America reporter Rubenstein was covering an anti-capitalist march hosted by far-left group DisruptJ20 when he was arrested. He said: "I was hit in the face with a flash grenade, it blinded me for a moment and my ears were ringing for a while. By the time I was done being treated and I could see again, we were encircled by police and I was told that everybody present would be arrested. It doesn't matter that I'm press."

Donald Trump inauguration protests
Protesters demonstrating against Donald Trump raise their hands as they are surrounded by police on the sidelines of the inauguration Adrees Latif/Reuters