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Secret Service tells press to leave White House

The Secret Service abruptly called for reporters to leave the White House grounds Monday night.

"In response to the increasingly violent demonstrations in Lafayette Park, four members of the media were misdirected by the Secret Service to leave the White House grounds," a Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill that 

"The members of the press were rerouted to exits on the south side of the complex for their own safety," the spokesperson added.

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Broadcasting from Lafayette Square in front of the White House, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins called the move “incredibly unusual,” telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “I don’t think we’ve ever been asked to actually physically leave the White House at a time like that.”

 

Protesters demonstrated at Lafayette Square Monday into the evening and attempted to bring down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson that sits in the middle of the park. Protesters were heard chanting “hey hey, ho ho, Andrew Jackson’s got to go” outside of the White House.

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Protesters have toppled and called for the removal of statues of Confederate leaders, explorer Christopher Columbus and more amid protesters over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Law enforcement used a chemical irritant on crowds of demonstrators Monday amid ongoing protests, WUSA reported.

Some demonstrators spray painted “BHAZ” on St. John’s Episcopal Church across from Lafayette Square, CNN reported. The message stands for "Black House Autonomous Zone," a reference to Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, also known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, where police have been kept out by demonstrators. 

Trump posed for a photo opportunity outside of the church earlier this month after nearby protesters were forcibly cleared by law enforcement and National Guardsmen. 

Trump was also moved to the White House’s underground bunker late last months as protesters and Secret Service agents clashed and demonstrators pulled metal barricades away from the White House gates.

--This report was updated on June 23 at 11:20 a.m.