WATCH: Protesters fail to bring down Andrew Jackson statue near White House
Washington - Protesters tried tearing down a statue of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, in a park near the White House on Monday, scrawling "killer scum" on its pedestal and pulling at ropes tied to the monument before police intervened.
The confrontation unfolded in Lafayette Square, where crowds peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer were forcibly displaced three weeks ago to make way for staged photos of President Trump holding a bible up in front a nearby church.
Protesters and police actively fighting with each other. Protesters weren’t able to tear down the statue of President Andrew Jackson (police have pushed them back) pic.twitter.com/uXR3FZFjUB— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) June 23, 2020
Police have arrived at the White House where protesters were trying to tear down a statue and build an autonomous zone. Tensions are high: pic.twitter.com/TFnkOR8cs6— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) June 23, 2020
The thwarted effort to topple the famed bronze likeness of Jackson astride a rearing horse marked the latest attempt during protests growing out of Floyd's death to destroy monuments of historical figures considered racist or divisive.
Monday's incident began around dusk with scores of protesters, most wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus infection, breaking through a 6-foot-tall fence erected in recent days around the statute at the center of the park.
Protesters then climbed onto the monument, fastening ropes and cords around the sculpted heads of both Jackson and his horse and dousing the marble pedestal with yellow paint before the crowd began trying to yank the statute from its base.
Dozens of law enforcement officers, led by US Park Police, stormed into the square, swinging batons and firing chemical agents to drive the from around the statue. By dark, police had taken control and outnumbered demonstrators in the immediate area.
Jackson, a former US Army general nicknamed "Old Hickory," served two terms in the White House, from 1829 to 1837, possessing a populist political style that has sometimes been compared with that of Trump.
dc going for andrew jackson statue on lafayette square. pic.twitter.com/gXbjBW272d— jen 🌩 byers (@scorpiontongue_) June 22, 2020
Native American activists have long criticised Jackson, a Democrat, for signing the 1830 Indian Removal Act, which led to thousands of Native Americans being driven from their lands by the US government and forced to march West in what became known as the "Trail of Tears." Many perished before reaching their intended destination.Reuters