USAToday reports Military helicopters, vehicles and personnel began to descend on the streets of Washington, D.C., Monday night, hours after President Donald Trump promised to “dominate the streets” and protesters demonstrating peacefully were pushed back with tear gas to make way for the president to visit a nearby church.
Protesters lingered in the Lafayette Square area well past the 7 p.m. citywide curfew. Several of the demonstrators were seen being taken into custody, waiting for further processing.
By 9 p.m., there were reports of arrests happening throughout the city as some protesters started working their way back to the White House.
The arrests and military show of force occurred in the hours after law enforcement officers used shields and tear gas to clear protesters from a park across the street from the White House as Trump prepared to make comments in the Rose Garden.
His address came as hundreds of protesters surrounded the White House grounds for the fourth day of protests in Washington.
The Department of Justice later issued a statement saying Trump directed Attorney General Wiliam Barr “assist in the restoration of order to the District of Columbia.”
The statement went on to say that several federal agencies, including the FBI, ATF and DEA, were coordinating to “maximize federal security presence” in DC.
Monday’s demonstrations marked a week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis set off protests and riots in that city and dozens of others across the nation. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged in Floyd’s death.
At about 6:30 p.m., law enforcement officers cleared Lafayette Park with tear gas, rubber bullets, shields and horses. Trump had yet to appear for his comments as the protesters, who at the time were peaceful, were being pushed back.
At 6:44 p.m., Trump began his comments by pledging to be a “law and order” president as officers continued to push protesters blocks away from where he was standing, using some form of projectile.
Trump announced his plan to “mobilize” federal resources to “stop the rioting and looting.” He said the goal was to “dominate the streets.”