Social media videos showed violent clashes between police and demonstrators trying to erect a "Black House Autonomous Zone" and topple the statue of former U.S. President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square on Monday.
The riots are just the latest in a series of protests, some of which turned violent, in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.
Protesters were attaching ropes and chains to the statue to force it down when Metropolitan Police and U.S. Park Police rode in and formed a protective barrier around the statue.
#NewsAlert: Soon another statue is going to be taken down in the #US, the andrew jackson statue, in front of the… https://t.co/t85E3Jipe8— Sotiri Dimpinoudis (@Sotiri Dimpinoudis)1592870432.0
Rioters are trying to tear down the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square in front of the White House. https://t.co/nvM0gK1GlE— Benny (@Benny)1592873981.0
At the end of a video posted by reporter Shomari Stone, protesters can he seen coughing after police spray them with some kind of chemical agent.
BREAKING: Metropolitan Police and US Park Police move demonstrators back from Lafayette Square Park. Two separate p… https://t.co/G3KJ8NvnjT— Shomari Stone (@Shomari Stone)1592873085.0
Another video shows numerous police spraying protesters.
Police pepper spraying protesters in DC right now https://t.co/Kf4fj14E6x— philip lewis (@philip lewis)1592872676.0
Other videos shows scuffles and fights breaking out between the police and the protesters.
Police have arrived at the White House where protesters were trying to tear down a statue and build an autonomous z… https://t.co/3EvbFTvYWX— Shelby Talcott (@Shelby Talcott)1592872019.0
Eventually calm returned to the area. Police said protesters were throwing objects at them but no officers were seriously hurt. Two protesters were arrested.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the clashes outside the White House and warned the protesters about what law enforcement punishment they might face.
"Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John's Church across the street," he tweeted.
Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of And… https://t.co/AV0K7AhMD8— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1592880394.0
"10 years in prison under the Veteran's Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!" he added.
CNN's Kaitlann Collins reported that the Secret Service had removed all media off of the White House grounds as soon as the protests nearby flared up.
BHAZ — Black House Autonomous Zone — has been spray painted on the columns of the historic St. John’s church outsi… https://t.co/Kaz4ulQMs0— Kaitlan Collins (@Kaitlan Collins)1592877804.0
She also posted a photograph of the historic St. John's church after it was vandalized with graffiti of "BHAZ," for "Black House Autonomous Zone."
Here's more video from the clashes:
CHAOS NEAR THE WHITE HOUSE: Protesters Try to Tear Down Statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square www.youtube.com