Washington, June 23 (IANS) Police in Washington D.C. used a chemical irritant to disperse protesters who were attempting to topple a statue of the seventh US President Andrew Jackson in a park near the White House, it was reported.
Before the police intervention on Monday night, the protesters threw ropes around the statue in Lafayette Square and began trying to pull it down, chanting “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Andrew Jackson’s got to go”, Xinhua news agency reported.
Protesters did manage to smash the wooden wheels of four replica canons at the base of the statue astride a horse, said a Washington Post report, adding “protesters threw things at police, and officers shoved people in the melee”.
Earlier on Monday, police and protesters briefly clashed as city officials attempted to clear out tents erected on a street near the White House and the Black Lives Matter Plaza, saying they were creating a potential safety hazard.
Jackson had signed the Indian Removal Act in May 1830, which led to the relocation of thousands of Native Americans and the deaths of thousands more when he was in office.
Responding to the incident, President Donald Trump tweeted that “Numerous people” had been arrested for “the disgraceful vandalism”, adding: “10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware.”
Protesters have continued to target historical symbols of the Confederacy across the country, said a USA Today report.
On June 19, protesters in Washington, D.C., and in Raleigh, North Carolina, toppled statues.
A statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was toppled in Richmond, Virginia earlier this month.
On June 18 in New Jersey, a statue of Christopher Columbus was toppled and beheaded.
The Mahatma Gandhi statue in Washington also was defaced with personal insults to him with an anti-India slogan on June 2.
The protests against police brutality, some of which have been violent, were triggered by the extra-judicial killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man by a policeman in Minneapolis on May 25.