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Trump threatens vandals with ‘10yrs in prison’ for defacing Andrew Jackson statue, St. John’s Church amid clashes near White House

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.

READ MORE: Black House Autonomous Zone? WATCH protesters erect barricades, try to pull down Andrew Jackson statue in Washington DC

“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!

Numerous people arrested in D.C. 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. 10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020

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.

Fights breaking out between police and protesters in DC after they were prevented from tearing down the statue of President Andrew Jacksonpic.twitter.com/91G6bPi6P4

— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 23, 2020

Clashes with Police in front of Andrew Jackson statue pic.twitter.com/VwZqdORdex

— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) June 23, 2020

Pepper spray and maybe what sounds like rubber bullets outside White House as rioters attempt to tear down Andrew Jackson statue. pic.twitter.com/EzOGCNUnMy

— RealPollz (@RealPollzApp) June 23, 2020

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

The only thing trending about the protest at the White House is that they tried to take down the statue of Andrew Jackson.

THAT‘S NOT THE STORY

Police are assaulting protesters, and Trump has asked the press to leave. THAT’S THE STORY.

pic.twitter.com/q0YDOBzMID

— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) June 23, 2020

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.

#DC #MetroPolice out in large numbers… pic.twitter.com/StQINLSpiW

— Kevin Corke (@kevincorke) June 23, 2020

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