An autonomous zone won’t be allowed in the nation’s capital, President Donald Trump said Tuesday.
“There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President,” the Republican said in a social media statement.
“If they try they will be met with serious force!” he added.
Protesters tried using fencing and other barriers to create a cordoned off area they described as the “Black House Autonomous Zone” late Monday.
The zone was located in Lafayette Park, near the White House.
As demonstrators tried sealing off the area, others used chains and ropes to attempt to tear down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson.
Police officers dispersed both groups, saving the statue from being toppled and dismantling the so-called autonomous zone.
Two people were arrested by U.S. Park Police during the attempt to topple the Jackson statue, Alexandra Picavet, a National Park spokeswoman, told The Epoch Times. Officials were still gathering information about the charges planned or pressed against the people.
An autonomous zone was established in Seattle earlier this month. City and state leaders allowed occupiers, including far-left activists, to occupy city streets, eject some who tried to enter, and enforce rules with a private security force including personnel from the John Brown Gun Club.
Two shootings took place over the weekend, leaving one dead and several wounded.
Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat who previously said the zone was full of peaceful protesters, announced late Monday the police would return to a precinct inside the zone that was abandoned and city streets would open back up.
“While we believe community and demonstrators can and should continue gathering peacefully on Capitol Hill, the disorder, violence and impacts on businesses and residents threatens to derail the CHOP’s critical message calling for justice, equality, and systemic reform,” she said in a statement.
Trump repeatedly threatened to send federal troops in to enforce laws in Seattle, but Durkan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said they didn’t want the assistance.
The Republican president, who is running for reelection, said he’s authorized the federal government to arrest any person who vandalizes or destroys any monument or other federal property.
People convicted of vandalizing or destroying monuments face up to 10 years in prison, the president said.
Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said the group behind the attempting toppling of the Jackson statue were anarchists and criminals.
“I just left Lafayette Square where another so called ‘peaceful protest’ led to destruction tonight,” he said in a statement.
“Let me be clear: we will not bow to anarchists. Law and order will prevail, and justice will be served.”