- Protesters in Washington, DC, have tried to establish an autonomous zone, the “Black House Autonomous Zone,” or BHAZ, in the past several days.
- But DC police are clearing the BHAZ, calling it a public-safety issue.
- Protesters also unsuccessfully tried to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson.
- President Donald Trump has slammed the protesters’ efforts, calling for people in the BHAZ to be met with “serious force” and threatening to arrest anyone who vandalizes or topples statues.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Over the past few days, protesters have attempted to erect an autonomous zone in Washington, DC, which they called the “Black House Autonomous Zone,” or BHAZ.
But that effort has been dashed by DC police, who are sweeping through the BHAZ to clear it out.
The BHAZ took its inspiration from a similar autonomous zone in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighbourhood, initially known as the CHAZ, and later the CHOP. Both spaces, designed to be cop-free and communal, have come under fire from President Donald Trump.
“There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “If they try they will be met with serious force!”
Just blocks from the White House, near Lafayette Square, protesters could be seen erecting tents, barricades, and fencing around the emergent BHAZ on Monday, The Washington Post reported. Hours later, police attempted to clear the encampment, dispersing crowds with chemical irritants.
Just arriving at the scene – cops have shut down our to McPherson Square. This is one entrance to the BHAZ pic.twitter.com/ZZ6CAQI42D
— a is for abolition (@scott_a_ross) June 23, 2020
Protesters briefly retook the space, but police responded again on Tuesday. DC officials told The Post that the BHAZ was a public-safety issue and would not be allowed to stand. Peaceful protests would not be disrupted, the officials added, and Trump’s message about “serious force” did not influence their response to the BHAZ.
Protesters “cannot set up tents or grills in the middle of our streets,” Police Chief Peter Newsham told The Post. “We’re going to keep our streets clear and try to communicate to people involved in that behaviour to move.”
As some crowds sought to establish the BHAZ, others tried to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, in Lafayette Square.
As president, Jackson signed into law the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which expelled some 50,000 Native Americans from their land and pushed them west. Thousands of Native Americans were killed during the conquest, many thousands fell sick, and some 25 million acres of their land was expropriated – much of which was given to slavers and American settlers.
“I have authorised 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,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, “per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent…..”
- Read more:
- ‘It’s reminiscent of Occupy’: Protesters in Seattle have established a communal ‘autonomous zone’ to prove they don’t need police
- ‘Everybody I’ve talked to feels significantly safer’: A protester living near Seattle’s ‘autonomous zone’ explains why the neighbourhood is better without cops
- New York City is creating a new law enforcement task force to crack down on illegal fireworks. People are worried it will cause more over-policing problems.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.