Episcopal clergy linked to St John’s church in Washington DC were among the peaceful protesters violently swept out of the way by police so that Donald Trump could pose in front of the building on Monday evening, and they have condemned the US President’s behavior.
The Christian leaders were teargassed along with protesters and journalists, some of whom were also shot with rubber bullets and punched by officers as they cleared a path to the church from the nearby White House.
“They turned holy ground into a battleground,” the Rev Gini Gerbasi said.
Gerbasi is the rector of nearby Saint John’s Episcopal church in the Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington, a sister church of St John’s Lafayette that is better known as the Church of the Presidents because every-one since James Madison has attended services there.
As Trump spoke at the White House, where he threatened to unleash the US military on protesters if state governors don’t crush unrest triggered by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, riot police attacked the crowd outside the church.