Demonstrators in Washington D.C., attempted to topple a bronze statue of former president Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park, near the White House on Monday (June 22), video footage posted on social media shows.
The Washington Post reported police disrupted their effort, dispersing the crowd before the statue could be damaged. Picketers yelling, “hey, hey, ho, ho, Andrew Jackson’s got to go” surrounded it and threw ropes around it.
But U.S. Park police showed up at the scene and confronted the demonstrators, swinging batons at them and using pepper spray.
Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was a defender of slavery and is said to have grown wealthy keeping at least 150 Black people enslaved.
He also is remembered for his oppressive treatment of Native Americans, having signed the Indian Removal Act, forcing tribes off ancestral lands in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida to areas west of the Mississippi River in what is known as the “Trail of Tears.”
President Trump blasted the demonstrators on Twitter, threatening jail time for anyone attempting to damage statues that are federal property.
Protesters in various cities have toppled statues that represented the confederacy, or that have been criticized as symbols of racism in America.
In places like Richmond, Virginia, a statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed, Gov. Ralph Northam announced earlier this month, after years of calls to take it down.
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