Conflicts & War

Police push back protestors trying to topple statue of former US president

Washington, Jun 23 (efe-epa).- Federal police pushed back protestors who tried to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson, the divisive seventh United States president.

By the time officers arrived on the scene, activists had put ropes and chains around the statue of the former leader on horseback and were attempting to tear the monument down.

Authorities dispersed the crowd using tear gas.

A wave of demonstrations has gripped the US following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer on 25 May in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Jackson statue stands in Lafayette Park, the epicenter of racial protests in Washington, located opposite President Donald Trump’s official residence the White House.

President Jackson was in office between 1829 and 1837.

He was a prosperous plantation owner and historians believe he had more than 300 slaves throughout his lifetime.

Jackson’s presidency was characterized by a series of forced removals of Native Americans, known as the Trail of Tears, and he played a key role in the relocation of at least 60,000 people.

Lafayette Park was the scene of a controversial event on 1 June when police dispersed peaceful protesters with tear gas so Trump could have his picture taken in front of a nearby church with a Bible in his hand.

Statues of the Marquis de LaFayette, the Earl of Rochambeau, Polish general Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Prussian Baron von Steuben, all figures of American independence, are scattered throughout the site.

Protests calling for racial justice in the US have seen several symbols of colonialism and slavery targeted by activists across the country.

The main targets have been symbols of the Confederacy, which many consider a glorification of white supremacy in the nation and which abound in the southern US states.

Statues of Spanish conquerors and the founding fathers have also been attacked.

On Friday, Juneteenth protesters tore down the statue of Confederate States Army Officer Albert Pike, which has stood in Judiciary Square in Washington since 1901.

Trump condemned the actions of activists and accused DC authorities of failing to their job accordingly.

“The DC police are not doing their job as they watch a statue be ripped down and burn. These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our country,” he tweeted.

The president has been at loggerheads with the mayor of the capital, Democrat Muriel Bowser, who has renamed the street leading to Lafayette Park Black Lives Matter Plaza. EFE-EPA

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