Fires burn near White House amid violent protests
Firefighters in Washington, D.C., responded to numerous blazes set intentionally by protesters in the city Sunday evening as protests over the death of George Floyd, who died after a police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck during the course of his arrest, moved into their sixth day nationwide.
Multiple news outlets reported that a fire erupted at historic St. John’s Church, a landmark where presidents have attended services since the 1800s, while others were set nearby at a White House guard building and other locations, including the AFL-CIO’s national headquarters.
— Tom Lynch (@TomLynch_) May 31, 2020
— Zach (@zhamiltoe) May 31, 2020
Protesters clashed with police in nearby Lafayette Park, next to the White House, where tear gas and flash bangs were deployed to disperse crowds that remained largely peaceful. In some areas, however, demonstrators added flammable materials to various fires.
Overhead views of the city Sunday evening showed the iconic Washington Monument engulfed with smoke from nearby fires as crews struggled to reach locations still held by protesters late into the night.
Smoke from multiple fires rising up in front of the Washington Monument #Chopper4 looking south from Maryland, White House center screen. #BreakingNews @nbcwashington #protests2020 #GeorgeFloydProtests pic.twitter.com/WNtPkgYCtD
— Brad Freitas (@Chopper4Brad) May 31, 2020
A curfew was imposed on Washington Sunday night and the National Guard was called in as the protests continued.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D)’s office did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.
The mayor earlier clashed with President Trump over whether Bowser had refused to allow D.C. Metropolitan Police to aid the Secret Service during the protests, a claim denied by Bowser and not supported by the agency’s statements.
“While [Trump] hides behind his fence afraid/alone, I stand w/ people peacefully exercising their First Amendment Right after the murder of #GeorgeFloyd & hundreds of years of institutional racism,” she tweeted Sunday.
“My police department will always protect DC and all who are in it whether I agree with them,” she added.
While he hides behind his fence afraid/alone, I stand w/ people peacefully exercising their First Amendment Right after the murder of #GeorgeFloyd & hundreds of years of institutional racism
There are no vicious dogs & ominous weapons. There is just a scared man. Afraid/alone…
— Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC Lite (@MurielBowser) May 30, 2020