Tensions are escalating in the nation’s capital as protesters clash with U.S. Park Police and Metropolitan Police after attempting to tear down the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park.

Protesters are clashing with police after attempting to topple the statue in Washington, DC, and demonstrators have also attempted to establish their own “autonomous zone,” dubbed the “Black House Autonomous Zone,” even spray painting the columns of St. John’s Episcopal Church — which caught fire after riots broke out in the capital last month — with “B-H-A-Z”:

Protesters outside the White House are attempting to declare a “Black House Autonomous Zone”


— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 22, 2020

Black House Autonomous Zone — Now spraypainted on the columns of St John’s Church here in BLM Plaza / Lafayette Square #BlackLivesMatter @WUSA9 pic.twitter.com/kedeyLiY8e

— Mike Valerio (@MikevWUSA) June 23, 2020

St. John’s Church has now been vandalized


— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 23, 2020

Several videos on social media show protesters yelling at officers, shouting expletives through megaphones, and setting fires:

Police have arrived at the White House where protesters were trying to tear down a statue and build an autonomous zone. Tensions are high: pic.twitter.com/TFnkOR8cs6

— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) June 23, 2020

Some people started a fire and others quickly put it out. Big arguments now over putting out the fire pic.twitter.com/x90dRAhmsh

— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) June 23, 2020

A protester got pushed to the ground by D.C. Police after putting his hands on an officer, according to an eyewitness. The protester got in the officer’s face and ranted at him. pic.twitter.com/ycbrAue1w8

— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 23, 2020

More video of protesters taunting police outside of Lafayette Park in D.C.

Something happened, I think a bottle was thrown, and cops used pepper spray. pic.twitter.com/hVU7CBXjs3

— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 23, 2020

Clashes with Police in front of Andrew Jackson statue pic.twitter.com/VwZqdORdex

— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) June 23, 2020

Does this sound like the voice of reason? pic.twitter.com/I3oriifxJX

— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 23, 2020

Reporters were also asked to leave the White House amid the chaos, which CNN reported as a “highly unusual decision that did not immediately come with an explanation”:

Reporters are told to leave the White House amid reports protesters attempted to remove an Andrew Jackson statue nearby.@kaitlancollins reports saying tensions are running high. pic.twitter.com/BotitSUYK3

— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) June 23, 2020

ALL reporters evacuated from White House right now

— Thee Milk N Cooks 🇺🇸 (@milkncooks) June 23, 2020

The secret service asked reporters to leave the entire #WhiteHouse grounds tonight without a clear reason. Watching @kaitlancollins report about the confusion on @CNN as it all unfolds. @WHCA #FreedomOfThePress #CNN pic.twitter.com/FW23LD6l8h

— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) June 23, 2020

NBC Washington also reported that four officers were injured Monday afternoon after attempting to clear tents near Black Lives Matter Plaza. Some protesters reportedly “threw objects at officers while they tried to remove the tents, police said,” according to the outlet.

“Two people were arrested. Police have not identified them or said if they were charged. The officers’ injuries were not serious, police said,” NBC Washington added.

This story is developing.

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