Police in Washington, DC, used pepper spray to arrest protesters who were trying to tear down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson while building a so-called ‘Black House Autonomous Zone’ near the White House on Monday night.
‘Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Andrew Jackson’s got to go,’ protesters shouted as they threw ropes around the statue of the controversial seventh president whose figure is depicted on a horse in Lafayette Park.
As they tried to pull the statue down, DC police began to break up the crowd and clear the area, according to The Washington Post.
At least two people have been arrested for attempting to assault a police officer.
President Trump, who called on authorities to impose 10-year prison sentences for the ‘disgraceful vandalism.’
Since coming to office in January 2017, Trump aides have sought to draw comparisons between the bareknuckle Democratic president, Jackson, and Trump.
Just weeks after he took office, Trump took a trip to Jackson’s plantation, the Hermitage, in Nashville, where he paid homage to the nation’s seventh president.
‘Inspirational visit, I have to tell you. I’m a fan,’ the president said at the time.
Protestors try to pull down the statue of U.S. President Andrew Jackson in the middle of Lafayette Park in front of the White House during racial inequality protests in Washington, DC, on Monday
‘Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Andrew Jackson’s got to go,’ protesters shouted as they threw ropes around the statue
Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, is considered a controversial figure in American history
Police managed to intervene and prevent protesters from removing the statue as they tied it with ropes and chains on Monday
US Park Police survey the damage after protesters attempted to tear down the statue of former President Andrew Jackson on Monday
The protesters trying to take down Jackson’s statue don’t seem convinced. Chaos ensued as hundreds of protesters were seen locking arms around the statue.
With police helicopters flying low overhead, officers used what witnesses said was pepper spray to disperse the protesters.
Local reports indicate that between 150 and 200 US Park and DC police moved to disperse the crowd of protesters, pushing them back toward H Street Northwest.
Though the statue of Jackson remains in its place, protesters did manage to do damage to the wooden wheels of four replica canons at the base of the monument, according to the Post.
Lafayette Park has been the site of noteworthy clashes involving protesters and police.
On June 1, law enforcement officers on foot and horseback aggressively drove protesters away from Lafayette Park, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to do a photo op at nearby St. John’s Church.
A police officer shoots pepper spray during a demonstration in Lafayette Square in front of the White House on Monday
Protesters flee after clashes with police who prevented a group of demonstrators from toppling a statue of Andrew Jackson
A man pours water into a fire during demonstrations at Lafayette Square in front of the White House on Monday
Protesters confront a row of police officers during demonstrations at Lafayette Square near the White House on Monday
A black protester dressed as Batman speaks through a megaphone in the middle of Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on Monday
THE CONTROVERSIAL PAST OF AMERICA’S SEVENTH PRESIDENT ANDREW JACKSON
Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, was a controversial figure, who was known to have built his personal fortune with slave labor while his time in office led to the deaths of thousands of Native Americans
Former president Andrew Jackson is a controversial figure, who was known to have built his personal fortune with slave labor while his time in office led to the deaths of thousands of Native Americans, tens of thousands of whom were stripped of their homeland.
America’s seventh president, Jackson, who grew up on the frontier, was seen as an outsider and it is unlikely he would have ever become president if not for the Battle of New Orleans, in which he won a victory against the British at the close of the War of 1812.
‘The legacy of the battle is that Americans felt Jackson had saved them from the British. That launched the U.S. into an era of national pride,’ said Tony Guzzi, who organized the ‘Andrew Jackson, Born for a Storm’ exhibit at his historical Hermitage home.
‘The big, important thing is it really changed the way Americans felt about their country. They were more confident about the permanency of the U.S., which was only a few decades old.’
‘Jackson was the next great war hero after George Washington. They put his image on everything from plates to pitchers to coins to you-name-it,’ Guzzi said, adding that many of the ceremonial swords, medallions and gold presentation boxes are on display.
When he came to power he was popular, so popular in fact that his first inauguration was overrun by drunken well-wishers who tore up the White House furniture. Jackson had to escape from a window while his supporters were eventually persuaded to continue their celebrations on the lawn.
But his presidency was plagued with controversy.
The most famous was the 1830 The Indian Removal Act, also known as the Trail of Tears, which caused the death of thousands of Native Americans and robbed them of their lands.
It forced multiple tribes to leave the cotton-rich land, where they had been for generations, to a designated zone on the other side of the Mississippi, which later became the state of Oklahoma.
He was also a prolific slave owner and never freed a slave of his own will.
His presidency also saw the closure of the national bank and an unprecedented use of the veto that many members of Congress criticized as exceeding his authority.
His time in office was also known for the Petticoat Affair, a social catastrophe that began when members of his household and cabinet refused to socialize with the scandal-plagued wife of War Secretary John Eaton.
The situation escalated and led to the dissolution of nearly Jackson’s entire cabinet.
Today, statues of him remain, such as the famous equestrian piece at the center of Lafayette Park, while he has also been featured in Pulitzer Prize-winning biography ‘American Lion’ and Broadway rock musical ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.’
The portrait of former President Andrew Jackson has also stared out from the face of the $20 since 1928.
But it may not be for much longer after a campaign to remove the controversial former president, who was responsible for deaths of so many Native Americans, as well as their loss of life.
Meanwhile, the United States Secret Service ordered members of the White House press corps to leave the grounds of the White House immediately, CNN reported. No explanation was provided.
Last month, as protesters gathered in front of the White House, Secret Service agents rushed the president and his family to an underground bunker.
Four DC police officers were reportedly injured after some of the protesters began to throw object, according to reports.
President Trump tweeted:’ 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.
’10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!’
Since the May 25 police-involved killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis, protesters have been tearing down statues of historical figures from the Confederacy as well as other figures from American history who at one point owned slaves.
Just before the attempt to tear down the Jackson statue, police began clearing tents that had been put up near Black Lives Matter Plaza.
‘They were creating a potential safety hazard,’ DC Police Chief Peter Newsham said.
‘We can’t have people setting up tents on public streets.’
Protesters put up a sign reading ‘Black House Autonomous Zone’ on fencing moved by demonstrators from a construction site into the middle of I Street near Black Lives Matter Plaza
Protest medics assist a bloodied protestor as police clash with demonstrators during an attempt by protestors to pull down the statue of former President Andrew Jackson
A woman reacts to being hit with pepper spray as protesters clashed with police in front of the White House on Monday
DC police officers subdue a protester during clashes at Lafayette Park in front of the White House on Monday
A protester is tended to after he was hit with pepper spray during clashes with police in Lafayette Park on Monday
A protester receives medical attention after she was hit with pepper spray during clashes with police in Washington, DC, on Monday
Another protester who was hit with pepper spray by police is tended to near Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on Monday
US Park Police are seen above pushing back protesters near the statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park on Monday
Washington, DC Metropolitan Police and US Park Police officers deploy pepper spray as they clash with protestors
Though the statue of Jackson remains in its place, protesters did manage to do damage to the wooden wheels of four replica canons at the base of the monument
A protester who was doused with pepper spray is being aided in Lafayette Square just across the street from the White House
Police officers knock a protester to the ground during clashes in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on Monday
Protesters confront a row of police officers at Lafayette Park in front of the White House on Monday
One of the protesters, 24-year-old Frederick Brown, said he was shot with pepper spray by a DC police supervisor as he tried to prevent officers from clearing the encampment, which numbered some eight or nine tents.
Many of the tents were used to help a local restaurant feed the protesters, who had been at the site for weeks.
‘We put the tents in the street so that cars wouldn’t be able to come through, so people could protest,’ Brown said.
‘They came up here agitating because they want this street open.’
According to Brown, who has been at the protest site for at least two weeks, an official from Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s office came to the area just before 2pm and warned demonstrators to clear out, saying it was illegal to block the street.
But the protesters ignored the warning, prompting police to begin clearing them out.
‘We have been out here every day feeding people for free,’ Brown said.
‘We have been peaceful overall. It’s not a fight against the government. It’s not a fight against the police.
‘It’s a fight against injustice.’
Police also had to contend with protesters who created roadblocks using sections of a metal fence and construction barriers.
One person posted a sign which read: ‘BHAZ: Black House Autonomous Zone.’
The sign was an apparent attempt to mimic a similar move by protesters in Seattle who occupied a six-block ‘police-free’ autonomous zone in response to the Floyd killing.
Seattle’s mayor says the city will move to wind down the ‘occupied’ protest zone following two recent shootings, including one that left a man dead. The area is pictured on Saturday after a 19-year-old was shot dead
Seattle’s mayor says the city will move to wind down the ‘occupied’ protest zone following two recent shootings, including one that left a man dead
People walk amidst barricades in what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone
Meanwhile, Seattle’s mayor says the city will move to wind down the ‘occupied’ protest zone following two recent shootings, including one that left a man dead.
Nineteen-year-old rapper Lorenzo Anderson was shot and killed on Saturday inside the autonomous zone in Seattle. His killer is yet to be arrested and there are mixed reports over their motive; some say it was a personal dispute, others are calling it a right wing attack
Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference Monday that officials are working with the community to bring the ‘Capitol Hill Occupied Protest’ zone to an end after two weeks.
The mayor said the violence was distracting from changes sought by thousands of peaceful protesters seeking to address racial inequity and police brutality. The area has drawn President Donald Trump’s scorn.
On Sunday night, a 17-year-old was shot in the arm at the edge of the area known as CHOP, named for the Capitol Hill neighborhood near downtown. It followed a shooting Saturday that left a 19-year-old man dead and another person critically wounded.
Nineteen-year-old rapper Lorenzo Anderson was shot and killed on Saturday inside the autonomous zone in Seattle. His killer is yet to be arrested and there are mixed reports over their motive; some say it was a personal dispute, others are calling it a right wing attack.
Protesters cordoned off the several-block area near a police station after clashes with officers following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Seattle riot squads unleashed tear gas, pepper spray and flash-bangs on large crowds of mostly peaceful protesters, drawing condemnation from many city leaders and a federal court order temporarily banning the use of the weapons on demonstrators.
A sign on a street barricade lists some of the demands of protesters in what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone
A broken hear is painted on a street barricade near one of the entrances to what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone
A person takes a photo of the Seattle Police East Precinct building
After police largely abandoned the East Precinct building, protesters took over the area – with demonstrators painting a large ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural on the street, handing out free food, playing music and planting a community garden. Its existence incensed Trump, who criticized Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, both Democrats.
Peacefulness has prevailed during the day. On Monday, people lounged on the turf at a park, while volunteers handed out food, water and toiletries. Artists painted designs on wooden barricades, and a few candles burned in front of a sign on the police precinct listing people killed by officer.
At night, however, the atmosphere becomes more charged, with demonstrators marching and openly armed volunteer guards keeping watch. Among the demands are calls to shift funding for police to community health or other social justice causes.
Art on the street welcomes visitors inside what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone in Seattle
A 1970’s-era poster of activist Angela Davis hangs at a boarded up and closed Seattle police precinct
Before announcing that the area would be dismantled, Durkan said Monday that ‘two nights of shootings have clearly escalated the situation on Capitol Hill’.
Durkan’s office said in a statement. ‘We have been meeting with residents and small business owners to address their safety and disorder concerns, including the ability of first responders to access emergencies in the area. … As many community groups are also urging, (the) Mayor believes individuals can and should peacefully demonstrate, but the message cannot be lost in the violence.’
Volunteer medics inside the zone brought the victims of Saturday’s shooting to the hospital rather than wait for the police and fire departments, who were preparing to respond before entering.
For the second time in less than 48 hours, there was a shooting near the ‘CHOP’ area that has been occupied by protesters after Seattle Police pulled back from several blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood near the Police Department’s East Precinct building
Demonstrators who had marched to the West Precinct police building downtown were returning to the zone when Sunday night’s shooting occurred, police said. The 17-year-old was treated and released from the hospital and wouldn’t speak with police, the department said. Investigators urged anyone with information to come forward.
Andre Taylor, who founded of the anti-police-shooting organization Not This Time! after his brother was killed by Seattle police in 2016, said Monday that he had warned protest organizers that the city would need to retake the area because of the violence.
‘That CHOP area is attracting this kind of activity and it’s unsafe,’ Taylor said in a Facebook video. ‘I told them, ‘All those people that were supporting you guys, they’re going to start walking away from you, especially all those white people that were following you. … They don’t want to be associated with any part of that violence.’
Former U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, a Republican who previously served as sheriff in the county where Seattle is located, also called on the city to take back control.
‘Elected officials have abandoned the rule of law and their oath to protect and defend our communities,’ he wrote in an opinion piece for Washington State Wire, a website devoted to state political news. ‘They have abandoned their law-abiding citizens and have been cowardly bullied into surrendering the East Precinct – and multiple city blocks.’