A crowd of protestors tried to topple the statue of a former US president near the White House Monday evening as police responded with pepper spray to break up new protests that erupted in Washington.
A wave of nationwide demonstrations calling for racial justice has swept the United States since the May 25 death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On Monday, several hundred protestors were pushed back by at least 100 security force personnel after they had thrown ropes around the statue of Andrew Jackson, the seventh US president, in Lafayette Park.
"The police attacked us. They’ve taken the law to their own hands," Raymond Spaine, a 52-year-old black man cleaning his eyes with saline, told AFP.
Earlier this month, police broke up a peaceful protest in the same park moments before President Donald Trump walked from the White House for a photo-op at a historic church damaged by arson the previous night.
Trump has delivered blunt instructions to local leaders confronting the protests against police brutality, telling authorities to "dominate the streets," and he has been unapologetic about the heavy deployment of forces.
He also threatened to invoke the rarely used Insurrection Act, which would mean deploying the armed forces on US soil.