Saturday, 28 Nov 2020

Black Lives Matter protests: Donald Trump threatens statue ‘anarchists’ with 10 years in jail

Donald Trump has said he has authorised police to arrest anyone who vandalises or destroys statues – and threatened them with 10 years in prison.

The US president announced he will issue an executive order to protect monuments after a wave of demonstrations by Black Lives Matter supporters across the US, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

On Monday night, anti-racism protesters tried to pull down a statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House.

He was America’s president from 1829 to 1837 and was a Tennessee slave owner – and he is also thought to be one of Mr Trump‘s favourite former US leaders.

Demonstrators scaled the bronze monument in Lafayette Park and wrapped ropes around it, while chanting: “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Andrew Jackson’s got to go.”

Officers in riot gear moved in and used pepper spray to disperse the activists before they were able to topple it.

Mr Trump has been clear that he opposes the removal of monuments of leaders of the Confederacy, or from other distasteful aspects of American history.

Federal law already says anyone who vandalises monuments can be punishable with 10 years in jail.

The president told reporters he would “have an executive order shortly that will reinforce what is already there but in a more unified way”.

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