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Rioters Set Up 'Autonomous Zone' Outside White House, Attack Presidential Statue

Black Lives Matter protesters try to tear down former President Andrew Jackson monument

 on 23rd June 2020 @ 3.00pm
rioters set up a  black house autonomous zone  outside the white house © press
Rioters set up a 'Black House Autonomous Zone' outside the White House

Rioters in Washington, D.C. have set up a new "Black House Autonomous Zone" or "BHAZ" outside the White House while others tried to tear down the nearby statue of former President Andrew Jackson on Monday night.

Black Lives Matter protesters attached ropes to the Jackson monument in Lafayette Park and tried to pull it down.

Other groups of activists began sealing off an area with barriers in an act of defiance similar to events in Seattle by declaring off-limits an area dubbed "BHAZ."

Rioters put ropes around the bust of the seventh president riding a horse and attempted to topple it to chants of “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Andrew Jackson’s got to go," the Washington Post reported.

Police intervened as hundreds of protesters locked arms around the statue before the crowds turned violent in a chaotic scene.

U.S. Park and D.C. police officers used a chemical irritant to disperse the crowd and officers were hit with objects.

police intervened in the attempts to topple the statue  with crowds quickly turning violent © press
Police intervened in the attempts to topple the statue, with crowds quickly turning violent

Jackson, who has faced ire in the present day for his severe treatment of Native Americans, was the latest historical figure targeted by protesters demanding monuments and memorials to those with racist pasts be taken down.

Fox News confirmed that the U.S. Secret Service asked reporters to leave the White House grounds nearby, although the specific reason wasn't clear.

Nearby, videos circulating online showed people around Lafayette Park carrying wooden boards and fencing in an attempt to declare the autonomous zone.

Orange and white barricades -- originally erected by police -- were moved from a church and added to others to make them longer.

Police were able to disperse the rioters before they were able to successfully topple the Jackson statue.

The statue depicts Jackson in uniform astride a horse at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, one of the most important battles of the War of 1812.

In the battle, American defenders under Jackson’s command routed British invaders.

Though the battle technically took place after the war had ended — thanks to the slow communications of the era — it firmly established American military prowess and played a role in burnishing Jackson’s credentials as a military leader.

On Monday, demonstrators broke through a fence around the statue and placed ropes around the statue, which they attempted to tear down.

Rioters shouted: "This is what democracy looks like!”; “No justice, no peace!”; and “Hands up, don’t shoot!”

The latter is a reference to the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, according to Breitbart.

Brown was killed while charging a police officer whose gun he had attempted to take, but activists claimed falsely that he had been shot in the back with his hands raised in surrender.

The event launched the Black Lives Matter movement.

U.S. Park Police deployed pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Some of the rioters appeared armed.

Some of the rioters wore white helmets with red crosses and administered first aid to those who had been sprayed.

Nearby, the St. John’s Episcopal Church, damaged in a fire set by rioters on May 31, was vandalized:

Not far away from the statue, “protesters had pushed construction barriers and sections of metal fence into the street in the area to create roadblocks,” The Washington Post reported.

“Someone had posted a sign spray-painted on plywood: ‘BHAZ: Black House Autonomous Zone.'”

protesters set up barriers to seal off an  autonomous zone  outside the white house © press
Protesters set up barriers to seal off an 'autonomous zone' outside the White House

New York Post reporter Ebony Bowden tweeted a video showing the area, writing: “Looks like another autonomous zone is springing up — this one outside the White House. Protesters are fortifying barricades in what they’re calling ‘BHAZ’ – Black House Autonomous Zone.

"Wonder how long President Trump will allow this to last on his doorstep.”

The efforts by protesters were similar to those in Seattle who carved out the "Capitol Hill Organized Protest," or "CHOP," in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood more than two weeks ago.

City officials announced Monday that steps were being taken to dismantle the cop-free area after a series of shootings and other violence within the area.

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