President Trump took to Twitter Monday night to announce that “numerous people were arrested” in Washington, DC, when protesters attempted to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square Park and, once again, attacked the nearby Episcopal Church de San Juan.
“Numerous people arrested in DC for the shameful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior deterioration of the Church of St. John across the street,” Trump tweeted. “10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!”
David L. Bernhardt, secretary of the Department of the Interior, said he visited Lafayette Square and witnessed the destruction. He said the country “will not bow to anarchists. Law and order will prevail, and justice will be done.”
The full extent of the damage is still unclear. The Lincoln Memorial and WWII Memorial had been defaced in previous protests, and on Monday night, the Jackson statue was also defaced. Reuters reported that “murderous scum” was written on the pedestal. The ropes were tied to the statue in an effort to knock it down, but the statement said that “law enforcement officials assured this would not happen.”
Protesters tore down a fence surrounding the statue just after dark, Reuters reported. The statement said that the surrounding cannons on the statue were destroyed.
Social media posts by journalists in the area report that protesters are setting up a camp near Lafayette Park similar to Seattle’s CHOP. Fox 5 DC reported that protesters spray-painted “BHAZ” on the columns of the Church of San Juan, which was apparently a reference to a “Black Autonomous Zone.” The news station reported that the US Park Police. USA And the city police managed to close the area to protesters. Reuters reported that these officers swung their batons in the effort.
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NBC Washington reported that at 10:30 pm local time, protesters were standing at the park’s border. Police said some officers were injured during these clashes and some protesters threw unknown objects at these officers, police said. The report says two people were arrested.
Police used an irritating chemical to disperse the crowd, and officers were hit with objects. Fox News has confirmed that the United States Secret Service asked journalists to leave the nearby White House grounds. The specific reason was not clear.
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A secret service spokesman said that “four members of the media were misled by the Secret Service to leave the White House grounds. Members of the press were redirected to exits on the south side of the complex by their own security”.
Jackson, who has faced anger today for his harsh treatment of Native Americans, was the latest historical figure to be attacked by protesters demanding that monuments and monuments be torn down by those with racist pasts.
Earlier this month, Trump clashed with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser over the deployment of federal forces to the city to protect government assets during the unrest following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
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When things calmed down, Trump turned to Twitter to write that the troops were headed home “but they can return quickly, if necessary. Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!”
Louis Casiano, Kevin Corke, Ashley Cozzolino and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.