Washington, DC – Hundreds of DC National Guardsmen are staged and waiting to back up law enforcement as protesters vow to destroy more monuments and historic landmarks across the city.
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that 400 members of the DC National Guard have been activated and staged at the DC Armory in case they’re needed, FOX News reported.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt requested that the guardsmen be mobilized earlier in the week after violent protesting began again in the area immediately surrounding the White House.
However, the National Guardsman have not been deployed into the city yet, FOX News reported.
“Since their activation, none of the National Guard members have been dispatched to actual monument locations to provide assistance to the NPP,” Pentagon Spokesman Lieutenant Coronel Christian Mitchell said in a statement. “They remain on standby at the DC Armory at this time. They will support U.S. Park Police at key monuments to prevent any defacing or destruction.”
Mitchell said the guardsman were unarmed and would only be serving as “uniformed deterrence” and to assist with crowd management, FOX News reported.
Protesters targeted a statue in Lafayette Square, the Episcopal Church across from the White House, and a number of other historic landmarks on Monday and Tuesday nights in their quest to rid Washington, DC of everything that has offended them.
Activists have announced they will be tearing down the Emancipation Memorial on Thursday evening because they are offended by the image of President Abraham Lincoln standing over a grateful freed slave.
"Thursday at 7pm, we're tearing this motherf–ker down."
Protestors set a date and time to attempt to tear down the Emancipation Memorial in DC depicting President Abraham Lincoln standing over a freed slave.pic.twitter.com/zQKuSiqGaN
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 24, 2020
The Emancipation Memorial was paid for by freed slaves as a thank you to President Lincoln.
Protesters spray-painted B-H-A-Z across the front of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church during the melee on Monday, in an effort to declare the area a “Black House Autonomous Zone” in the fashion of the occupied area in Seattle.
The Bishop of the Episcopal Archdiocese of Washington released a statement in support of the protesters despite the damage to historic St. John’s, WTTG reported.
“Pillars can be repainted. Buildings can be rebuilt. Black and brown people killed by police cannot be brought back from the dead. The damage of property is inconvenient, costly, and worst of all, serves to deflect our collective attention from what’s most important. I am resolutely focused on ending police brutality and murder, and the societal indifference to gross racial inequities that are fueling widespread public protest,” the Right Reverend Mariann Budde said in a statement.
Police pushed back and cleared the area after the damage was done, but on Tuesday, a large fence was erected around the landmark known as the “Church of the Presidents” where President Lincoln worshipped right before he was assassinated.
Police evacuated the area and the southern portion of BLM Plaza is now reopened (although there is now a perimeter fence surrounding St. John’s Church). pic.twitter.com/zh3RoeHWL4
— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) June 24, 2020
The same church’s basement was set on fire by arsonists during the first round of George Floyd riots at the White House.
On Monday night, activists reacted with violence after law enforcement officers stopped them from tearing down a statue of President Andrew Jackson on Lafayette Square.
The anti-statue activists initially appeared to go unchallenged and started pulling on straps to topple the statue in Lafayette Square.
The activists claim to have renamed Lafayette Square as “Black Lives Matter Square.”
As the activists were working to bring down the statue, U.S. Park Police moved in to stop them.
Metropolitan Police Department officer could be seen in the area helping to hold back the hostile crowd.
Activists have been destroying statues across the United States which they have deemed to be “racist” in recent weeks.
The activists blamed Andrew Jackson for violence against Native Americans.
Other statues which have been recently destroyed include George Washington and President Ulysses S. Grant.
President Grant is best known for having crushed the Confederate army in the Civil War, helping to end slavery.
He was a Republican who was also known for having taken down the KKK and presided over the 15th Amendment, granting black men the right to vote.
Late Tuesday night, Metropolitan police faced off with angry protesters in the nation’s capital and made multiple arrests after the group burned American flags and set off fireworks in the streets.
BREAKING: DC Police just unleashed on Black Lives Matter demonstrators. They're shooting flashbangs and pepper spraying indiscriminately. It's a war zone out here pic.twitter.com/OsR9LzjdGs
— Wyatt Reed (@wyattreed13) June 24, 2020
Protesters tried to set up barricades across K Street, NW, a major business thoroughfare, but police pushed back and efforts to mark off a sections of the city like Seattle were blocked.
By Wednesday morning, police had removed tent encampments, cleaned up debris, and removed signs attached to fencing, but protests were expected to grow over the weekend and into the 4th of July holiday, WTTG reported.