Rioters gathered in Lafayette Square in Washington D.C., across from the White House, in an attempt to claim another monument before the authorities stepped in, according to the Daily Caller.
Footage that has circulated on Twitter showed crowds attaching several ropes to a statute of Andrew Jackson and attempting to pull it down, but failing to do so due to the statue’s structural integrity. D.C. Police ultimately arrived on the scene and managed to push the crowd back, securing a perimeter around the statue and removing the ropes.
Police then pushed the crowd back further in an attempt to disperse it, using pepper spray, batons, and the “bicycle wall” tactic. As the rioters were pushed further back, they eventually returned to another familiar target and vandalized St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The church, which had previously been attacked when terrorists started a fire and attempted to burn it down a month ago, had its front columns vandalized with the letters “BHAZ” spray-painted across each of them. The letters stood for “Black House Autonomous Zone,” which indicated that the rioters were attempting to set up their own autonomous zone similarly to the infamous location in Seattle, but those attempts were also broken up by police.
Following the riots and the successful saving of the statue, President Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning that he had “authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue, or other such Federal property in the U.S.” In a follow-up tweet, he added that this action will also “retroactively” be used for acts of destruction that have already been committed against American monuments, with possible sentences of up to 10 years in prison for those found guilty of such vandalism.