US Secret Service agents were seen guarding the president as he walked from the White House to the historic Greek Revival Episcopal church, which was damaged in a fire last night.
I almost can’t believe what I’m seeing. POTUS just walked out the front door of the White House and into Lafayette Square - the epicenter of the DC protests - to visit historic St. John’s Church, which was set on fire last night. pic.twitter.com/XueoF2RC6z— Kristin Fisher (@KristinFisher) June 1, 2020
CBS News journalist Weijia Jiang reported that the US president "held up a bible for several minutes and took pictures with staff" while near the church.
"We have a great country - that's my thoughts. Greatest in the world," Trump said as he held up the holy book and posed for pictures. The US president noted that he was not holding his personal bible.
"It's coming back. It's coming back strong. It'll be greater than ever before," he said.
The US president's excursion was brief, and he was back on White House grounds before 7:15 p.m. local time.
A Sputnik correspondent in the area detailed that military police rode in on horseback around 6:30 p.m. and deployed both tear gas and flash-bang grenades in a "very sudden, very violent" move against peaceful demonstrators who were kneeling in protest for five minutes.
Additional footage recorded by the Sputnik correspondent shows the police's treatment of peaceful demonstrators exercising their First Amendment right to assemble.
Impact from the launched projectiles can be overheard in aerial footage from the scene.
Heavily armed federal officers fired gas canisters at a crowd of nonviolent demonstrators outside the White House. 'This was a peaceful protest,' CNN analyst Jackie Kucinich wrote. 'And they are using tear gas. In the United States. In front of the White House.' pic.twitter.com/kRq3vyV13I— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 1, 2020
ABC7's live broadcast captured footage of cops assaulting civilians while clearing Lafayette Park. The scene in this clip occurred prior to the 7 p.m. local time curfew.
Military vehicles have been stationed in Farragut Square as the curfew begins in Washington, DC.
Authorities have also taken to the skies, and at least one Black Hawk chopper was observed patrolling the city.
Reinforcements from the National Guard and other active-duty military troops have descended on the US capital to assist with enforcement of the city's curfew - which is slated to be enforced on Tuesday night as well.
Some protesters refused to go home - or even leave the streets.
Arrests being made at 16th and I. Presumably the arrests are for DC curfew violations. All protesters I’ve seen have been peaceful. pic.twitter.com/z24lDepT2S— Josh Rosenthal (@JoshRosenthalTV) June 2, 2020
This out-of-state assistance and preemptive enforcement of the curfew comes two days after Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham railed against outside parties getting involved.
"We can't have people coming into our city who are going to destroy property or hurt people," he said on Saturday. It's unclear if officers will be held to the same standard.