KEY POINTS

  • Protesters burn trash cans, a car and several buldings in Washington, D.C.
  • St. John’s Church known as the ‘Church of the Presidents’ was also burned
  • Trump was briefly secured in a bunker Friday as protests raged in the capital

Arson, looting and fires were reported around the White House as protests over the death of George Floyd raged for the third straight day in Washington, D.C. St. John’s Church, the historic Episcopalian building also known as the "Church of the Presidents," was set on fire by protesters late Sunday evening (May 31).

Multiple fires were reported at Lafayette Square; one car was reportedly set on fire in the same area while two Target stores were broken into.

The flag at St. John’s Church was reportedly torn during the protests as multiple fires raged across the district. As many as 1,000 protesters gathered outside the church faced off against with officers in riot gear.

The fire at St. John’s Church was reportedly started in the basement by the protesters, D.C. fire officials said. The blaze was extinguished and the sanctuary does not appear to be damaged based on images.

A church rector told WUSA9 that the church’s nursery has turned into a burned-out shell but the fire did not spread out from there. The rector, who was not named in the report, also said that the church stands as a beacon for anti-racism and good.

According to the National Park Service, every American president since James Madison has attended at least one service at St. John’s Church, thus giving it the moniker Church of the Presidents.

The fire is being investigated as an act of arson.

Break-ins and other fires were being reported near the White House even after the 11 p.m. curfew in the D.C. area came into force. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) building was also vandalized and set on fire.

Protests in D.C. started Friday (May 29) after protesters demanded justice for George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis after an officer put his knee on Floyd's neck for close to nine minutes while restraining him. President Donald Trump was reportedly sent into a security bunker for an hour over fears that protesters could breach the White House perimeter.

Secret Service agents faced angry protesters and were met with projectiles as they defended metal fences set up in Lafayette Park.

Trump and his family were reportedly unnerved Friday as protesters threatened to force their way into the White House. Trump tweeted he “couldn’t have felt more safe” as Secret Service moved him to the Presidential Emergency Operations Bunker.

Secret Service has since expanded the perimeter around the White House as protests continue.