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Protesters bid to pull down statue of ex-US president near White House

Andrew Jackson’s ruthless treatment of Native Americans has made his monument a target for protesters against the US legacy of racial injustice.

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The statue of President Andrew Jackson (AP)

The statue of President Andrew Jackson (AP)

The statue of President Andrew Jackson (AP)

Protesters have attempted to pull down a statue of former US president Andrew Jackson near the White House before being dispersed by police.

WUSA-TV in Washington reported on Monday night that police used pepper spray to move protesters out of Lafayette Square, where the Jackson statue is located.

Videos posted on social media showed that the protesters had climbed onto the statue and tied ropes around it, before trying to pull it off its pedestal.

The statue shows Jackson in military uniform, riding a horse that is rearing up on its hind legs.

The 19th century president’s ruthless treatment of Native Americans has made his statue a target for demonstrators protesting against the United States’ legacy of racial injustice.

The Jackson statue remained on its pedestal Monday night.

US president Donald Trump tweeted late on Monday that “numerous people” had been arrested for “the disgraceful vandalism”.

He added: “10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!”

US interior secretary David Bernhardt issued a statement, saying: “Let me be clear: We will not bow to anarchists. Law and order will prevail, and justice will be served.”

On June 1, law enforcement officers forcefully cleared peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square in order for Mr Trump to stage a photo op at a nearby church.

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Firefighters put out a fire as protesters and police gather at Lafayette Park (AP)

Firefighters put out a fire as protesters and police gather at Lafayette Park (AP)

AP/PA Images

Firefighters put out a fire as protesters and police gather at Lafayette Park (AP)

President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday to say that he had authorised action against people over the toppling of statues.

He tweeted: “I have authorised the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalises or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the US with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent……….This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused.

“There will be no exceptions!”

PA