Trump tweets wanted poster related to statue-removal attempt

The base of the statue of former president Andrew Jackson is power washed inside a newly closed Lafayette Park, Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in Washingto...

The base of the statue of former president Andrew Jackson is power washed inside a newly closed Lafayette Park, Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in Washingto...

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to call for the arrest of protesters involved in this week's attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson from a park directly in front of the White House. Trump on Friday retweeted a FBI wanted poster showing pictures of 15 protesters who are wanted for “vandalization of federal property.”

Trump wrote, “MANY people in custody, with many others being sought for Vandalization of Federal Property in Lafayette Park. 10 year prison sentences!”

Protesters on Monday night attempted to drag the statue down with ropes and chains. Police repelled the protesters and sealed off Lafayette Park, which had been reopened to the public for more than a week after protests against the death of George Floyd at police hands in Minnesota. On Tuesday police cleared out the entire area around the corner of 16th and H streets — and pushed demonstrators away from the intersection, which had recently been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza by the city.

Statistics released by the Metropolitan Police Department show that nine people were arrested Tuesday night and a total of 12 arrested between Monday and Wednesday. There were no protest related arrests on Thursday, according to the MPD data.

Demonstrators have grown increasingly emboldened about targeting statues deemed offensive or inappropriate. Last week on June 19 or Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the United States, cheering crowds puled down a statue of former Confederate general Albert Pike. The statue stood on federal land and had withstood previous attempts by the Washington, D.C., government to remove it. According to participants, police officers were on the scene but did not attempt to interfere.

The targeting of the statues has become a rallying cry for Trump and other conservatives. Immediately after the Pike statute was toppled and set ablaze, Trump called the incident “A disgrace to our Country!” on Twitter.

On Tuesday he tweeted, “I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent.....”