Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets to disperse a peaceful demonstration that was taking place near the White House on Monday as US President Donald Trump vowed a massive show of force to end violent protests over the death of a black man in police custody.
Law enforcement, including officers on horseback, moved on protesters in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House as Trump made his remarks from the Rose Garden.
The president pledged to end six nights of looting and violence in major cities across the nation “now”, saying he would deploy the US military if state governors refused to call out the National Guard.
“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled,” Trump said. “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
The police action against protesters cleared the way for Trump to walk from the White House to nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church along with other officials including U.S. Attorney General William Barr. Trump posed for photos at the church, which suffered minor damage the night before, holding up a Bible.
The security forces that moved against protesters at the White House included National Guard military police, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security police as well as District of Columbia police.