• Protesters tried to remove an Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square
  • Police used chemical agents to disperse crowds
  • Reporters were asked to leave the White House as crowds were being dispersed

Washington, D.C. police used chemical agents to clear Lafayette Square after protesters attempted and failed to remove a statue of Andrew Jackson Monday (June 22).

The statue of the seventh President of the United States has become the scene for protests after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Protesters removed the chain-link fence surrounding the statue and attempted to bring the statue down using ropes tied around the neck of Jackson and his horse, the Associated Press reports. The attempt was unsuccessful.

The statue was targeted by protesters as part of a larger movement to remove monuments dedicated to historical figures associated with racism. President Jackson was a slaveholder who expelled Native Americans east of the Mississippi River through the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

President Donald Trump, who has a portrait of President Jackson in his office, tweeted criticism over the attempt to pull down the statue and called the attempt “disgraceful vandalism.”

Trump also threatened protesters with jail time for the alleged vandalism of the statue and the defacing of St. John’s Church.

“10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!” Trump tweeted.

Dozens of officers led by U.S. Park Police cleared the square after the failed attempt by using batons and chemical agents.

Protesters were reportedly pushed back towards St. John’s Church. The crowd was reportedly peaceful and protesters were playing pop music, according to NPR.

As protesters attempted to remove the statue, reporters in the White House were asked to leave in a move that was described as “unusual.”

Secret Service agents abruptly asked reporters to leave the White House grounds as protesters tried to remove the statue in Lafayette Square.

According to CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins that agents did not tell reporters the reason for the request to leave.

“I don’t think we’ve ever been asked to actually physically leave the White House at a time like that,” Collins said, referring to the increasing tensions between protesters and police at Lafayette Square.