The mayor of Washington called it “shameful” that federal police forcefully removed protesters from the White House before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew to apparently clear the way for the president to walk to St. John"s Church.
Under heavy protection, President Donald Trump and several members of his administration, including Attorney General William Barr, walked across a park to St. John’s Church and posed for photos before returning to the White House.
At about 6:30 p.m. law enforcement officers cleared Lafayette Park with tear gas, rubber bullets, shields and horses. Trump had yet to appear for his comments in the Rose Garden as the protesters, who at the time were peaceful, were being pushed back. At 6:44 p.m., Trump began his comments by pledging to be a “law and order” President as officers continued to push protesters blocks away from where he was standing, using some form of projectile.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in a tweet that “A full 25 minutes before the curfew & w/o provocation, federal police used munitions on peaceful protesters in front of the White House, an act that will make the job of @DCPoliceDept officers more difficult”.
“Shameful!” she continued, and concluded by urging residents to go home and be safe.
Bowser said federal law enforcement officials are responsible for protecting Lafayette Square and the area around the White House but that she did not think it was appropriate that they took the actions they did because the crowd was not violating the city’s 7 p.m. curfew.
“We were very shocked and quite frankly outraged that people who were not violating the curfew and who did not seem to have provoked attack were attacked and moved out by the federal law enforcement officials who were directed to clear the way for the president”, - added Muriel Bowser.