News & Politics

Protesters Try to Establish Autonomous Zone Outside White House. Police Aren't Having It—for Now.

Protesters Try to Establish Autonomous Zone Outside White House. Police Aren't Having It—for Now.
(Image credit: Julio Rosas for Townhall)

Protesters hoping to set up an autonomous zone outside the White House, a la Seattle’s CHOP, were met with a heavy police presence as they tried to take control of the area Monday night.

Recall that Seattle’s CHOP (or CHAZ or whatever they’re calling it this week) has become a violent police-free zone in the city over the last two weeks, with shootings, rapes, a violent warlord, and, sadly, a murder. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has taken a hands-off approach to the occupation of her city, waxing poetic about a “summer of love” on the horizon.

Protesters put up a sign declaring the area around Lafayette Park, which is on federal property, a “Black House Autonomous Zone.”

They also attempted to pull down a statue of Andrew Jackson in the park but were apparently thwarted by police:

They rioters spray-painted “BHAZ” on the pillars of St. John’s, the liberal social-justice church near the White House that was set on fire during an earlier protest.

Townhall’s Julios Rosas, fresh off a stint covering the rioting in Atlanta, is on the scene:

District of Columbia police and the U.S. Park Police are also on the scene:

Her parents, who likely shelled out a small fortune for her education, must be so proud.

Police didn’t waste any time moving the malcontents out of Lafayette Park:

The restraint police are showing after being subjected to every kind of disgusting insult imaginable is incredible. How many Americans could keep their cool in this situation? It’s a testament to their training and personal integrity.

Watch these 20-somethings—all card-carrying environmentalists, no doubt—toss plastic bottles into the fire, releasing toxic chemicals into the air.

And there was a second fire:

The White House press pool was told to leave the grounds as the protest began to escalate. The Secret Service told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that it’s “normal protocol for the Secret Service when they are on alert.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) who has been a vocal critic of mayors allowing violent protesters to occupy their cities, and called for federal intervention, commended D.C. police for acting to stop the group trying to set up an autonomous zone.

Update 10:48 p.m. — President Trump has weighed in on the situation, warning protesters they could face ten years in prison for defacing statues:

The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush, states:

 Whoever, in a circumstance described in subsection (b), willfully injures or destroys, or attempts to injure or destroy, any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

The circumstances in subsection (b) include:

(1) in committing the offense described in subsection (a), the defendant travels or causes another to travel in interstate or foreign commerce, or uses the mail or an instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce; or

(2) the structure, plaque, statue, or other monument described in subsection (a) is located on property owned by, or under the jurisdiction of, the Federal Government.

Update 11:00 p.m. — White House Senior Comms Advisor Ben Williamson thanked law enforcement for “shutting down the mob.”

Follow me on Twitter @pbolyard