White House goes on brief lockdown after protest erupts nearby

The White House went into a brief lockdown on Friday evening as protests over the death of George Floyd raged nearby, according to reporters who said they were in the building at the time.

NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander said on Twitter that he was on lockdown inside the building as protests in the building's vicinity were ongoing. He later tweeted that the lockdown had been lifted.

Photos showed demonstrators gathering in Lafayette Park just outside the White House.

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One video showed a man with a bandana around his neck spray-painting "F--k Trump" onto Freedman's Bank Building, which is adjacent to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

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The Secret Service announced via Twitter that it is helping law enforcement agencies during the protests at Lafayette Park. They encouraged the public to "remain peaceful."  

At one point, some protesters pushed over fences, prompting a forcible Secret Service response.

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Alexander tweeted shortly before 8:30 p.m. EDT that the lockdown had been lifted.

The White House and Secret Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Massive protests have erupted across the country this week as people express their outrage over Floyd's death and police brutality.

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Video was released earlier this week of a Minneapolis police officer pinning an unarmed Floyd, 46, to the ground and pressing his knee into his neck. Floyd could be heard saying, “I can’t breathe” as the officer continued to press down on his neck. After several minutes, his body went limp. 

He was declared dead 90 minutes after his arrest.

The officer who pinned the man to the ground, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.

Updated: 8:38 p.m.