Washington D.C. up in flames as protesters spark fires near White House burning buildings and national flag
Shortly before the start of the 11 pm curfew, protesters piled up road signs and plastic barriers and lit a blaze in the middle of H Street
Several fires were set near the White House on May 31 as the nation continued to be ravaged by violent protests over the death of George Floyd.
Shortly before the start of the 11 pm curfew imposed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, protesters piled up road signs and plastic barriers and lit a blaze in the middle of H Street, the New York Post reports.
Meanwhile, some of the demonstrators pulled an American flag from a nearby building and threw it into the blaze.
As seen on live footage from Fox News, the basement of The Parish House in historic St John’s Episcopal Church, near Lafayette Park, was also engulfed in flames. Another public cinder block building at the edge of the park with bathrooms and a maintenance office was set ablaze.
A crowd of more than 1,000 had gathered at the park, which is across the street from the White House, prompting law enforcement to form a line to push them back along with tear gas and stun grenades. At least 50 U.S. Secret Service members had been injured by the night of May 31, a senior official told Fox News.
Just hours earlier, hundreds of people had gathered near the White House and marched along the National Mall while chanting “I can’t breathe”, “Black Lives Matter", and “No justice, no peace.”
As reported by NBC 4 Washington, the Executive Mansion was unusually quiet for a Sunday after staffers were advised to stay away because of the violent demonstrations.
17 people were arrested and 11 D.C. police were injured during the second night of protests on May 30. According to the National Mall National Park Service, a number of heritage monuments were defaced — including the iconic Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the statue of General Casimir Pulaski.
The curfew for city residents was ordered on May 31 and will be in effect until June 1 6 am. Bowser also roped in the National Guard to support local law enforcement.
According to a tally compiled by The Associated Press, at least 4,100 people have been arrested over the past week of protests across the country since George Floyd's death. While Floyd's death while being arrested by police officer Derek Chauvin initially sparked peaceful protests, they soon turned violent after groups such as Antifa came into the fold.
That said, Black Lives Matter protests have now spread across the globe — with thousands marching to the US Embassy in Battersea in the U.K. The crowd was heard chanting, "say his name: George Floyd I can’t breathe" as they walked alongside River Thames, according to Metro.
Thousands have taken to the streets to protest systemic racism and calling for bringing the police officers responsible for Floyd's death to justice. The arrest crimes have ranged from looting to blocking highways to violent behavior, include those from demonstrations in New York and Philadelphia on the East Coast, Chicago and Dallas in the Midwest and Southwest, and Los Angeles on the West Coast.
The protests continue to spread throughout the country.