The U.S. Department of the Interior released new footage this week of violent riots outside the White House in Lafayette Square.
President Donald Trump has faced criticism for his decision to clear protesters out of the square on June 1 before he took photos with members of his administration in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
A group of House Democrats asked four federal agencies to explain the decision to disperse protesters from the square.
In response, the Department of the Interior released new footage this week of aggressive clashes between agitators and law enforcement officers. In a press release, the agency said all of the footage was recorded prior to June 1.
The video shows agitators throwing bricks, glass, and bottles at law enforcement officers. According to the department, more than 60 U.S. Park Police have been injured since the demonstrations began, some requiring hospitalization.
Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has requested and been granted 400-plus national guardsmen to help protect monuments in the area.
An earlier statement from the U.S. Park Police (USPP) said “violent protesters” began throwing “bricks, frozen water bottles, and caustic liquids” at law enforcement officers on the evening of June 1.
“The protesters also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats, and metal poles hidden along the street,” said the statement.
“To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following established policy, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area. As many of the protesters became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls,” it added.
The statement said two USPP officers have been assigned to administrative duties while an investigation takes place regarding their alleged attack of Australian reporters.
Secretary Bernhardt has criticized the media’s portrayal of the demonstrations outside the White House as “peaceful protests.”
“I just left Lafayette Square where another so-called ‘peaceful protest’ led to destruction tonight. Let me be clear: we will not bow to anarchists. Law and order will prevail, and justice will be served,” he said in a Monday statement, calling the scope of the violence and destruction “significant.”
“Across the country, some elected leaders of our cities have expressed enthusiasm and support for these criminals, exhibiting an undeniable unwillingness to protect law abiding citizens and their property,” he continued. “We live in the greatest country in the world, and I thank our dedicated law enforcement officials who stand tall against these coordinated attacks and seek peace and justice for all.”
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