President Trump said Tuesday on Twitter that there “will never be” a Seattle-style protest zone in Washington, D.C., where city blocks are taken over by lawless anarchists who don’t allow police or emergency service personnel to enter.
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“There will never be an “Autonomous Zone” in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m you’re President. If they try they will be met with serious force!”
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Twitter issued a warning on the tweet, saying that it “violated” its rules about “abusive behavior. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.”
Violent clashes between city and park police were reported Monday night at Lafayette Park where protesters tried to topple a bronze statue of Andrew Jackson and defaced St. John’s Church. Protesters wrote “BHAZ” on the columns of the church, which means, “Black House Autonomous Zone.”
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Fox 5 DC reported that after much of the unrest, protesters congregated at the new Black Lives Matter Plaza, where police cleared out an emerging encampment. The report said that four police officers were injured while clearing the plaza.
Wayne Turnage, the deputy mayor for D.C., told the station that there is a “serious concern” when tents emerge in the middle of a road and that teams from the city will work to talk with the occupants and ultimately their removal.
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Protests have emerged across the country to topple statues due to link slavery or other dark moments in the country’s history. Jackson, the latest target of protest outrage, was known for his poor treatment of Native Americans. “Killer scum” was written on the statue’s pedestal and ropes were tied to its neck in an effort to topple it.
Trump has announced new measures to protect statues from vandalism.
“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent. This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused,” he tweeted. “There will be no exceptions.”