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WATCH: Rioters Vandalize Church Near White House That Was Previously Set On Fire
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22: Protesters move items they found to block off police after the police tried to open up H Street to traffic on June 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Protests continue around the country over the deaths of African Americans while in police custody.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Rioters in Washington, D.C., vandalized a church near the White House on Monday night as they attempted to establish a new “autonomous zone” called “Black House Autonomous Zone.”

Videos and photographs of the vandalism at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church circulated on social media, which came after rioters set the church on fire late last month and stole an American flag off of the building and lit it on fire.

“By Monday evening, tents had been pushed off the street, but some remained on the sidewalk. Protesters had pushed construction barriers and sections of metal fence into the street in the area to create roadblocks. Someone had posted a sign spray-painted on plywood: ‘BHAZ: Black House Autonomous Zone,'” The Washington Post reported. “The sign appeared to be a play on the area that protesters have cordoned off in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood dubbed the ‘CHAZ.'”

Rioters attempted to destroy a statue of former President Andrew Jackson earlier in the before D.C. police arrived on scene and stopped the destruction of property.

“U.S. Park and D.C. police used a chemical irritant to disperse the crowd and officers were hit with objects,” Fox News reported. “Nearby, videos circulating online showed people around Lafayette Park carrying wooden boards and fencing in an attempt to declare the autonomous zone. Orange and white barricades — originally erected by police — were moved from a church and added to others to make them longer.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) responded to the violence on Twitter, writing, “It’s about time DC police showed up to stop the mob. If Muriel Bowser won’t allow the police to do their job, @realDonaldTrump should deploy federal law enforcement to protect this 168-year-old statue and every other landmark in our nation’s capital.”

“And, by the way, criminal masterminds, you’re destroying a statue on federal property that commemorates the military service of Andrew Jackson, a crime that carries a 10-year sentence under the Veterans Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act,” Cotton continued. “And you’re on tape. Lock ‘em up!”

President Donald Trump responded late on Monday night, writing: “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!”


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