Police officers clash with protesters
© Reuters / Joshua Robert
Police officers clash with protesters during an attempt to pull down the statue of former US President Andrew Jackson near the White House in Washington, DC, June 22, 2020.
US President Donald Trump has warned of harsh consequences for anyone defacing statues or monuments in Washington, DC, saying the vandals could spend up to a decade in prison.

"Numerous people arrested in DC 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," Trump tweeted on Monday night, after several protests erupted in the city.
10 years in prison under the Veteran's Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!

Demonstrators gathered in Lafayette Park near the White House earlier on Monday, attempting to topple the Jackson statue and vandalizing the historic St. John's Church with graffiti. Police reinforcements were sent in to protect both locations, with videos shared online showing clashes between protesters and law enforcement.

A number of arrests were made amid the skirmishes, as was also seen in footage from the protests.

Inspired by a similar effort in Seattle, activists also tried to establish a new protester encampment - dubbed the "Black House Autonomous Zone" (BHAZ) - less than two miles away from the White House. The nascent zone's initials were seen spray painted on the exterior of the St. John's Church, where the DC Metro Police have set up a perimeter to prevent further vandalism.