Protestors in Washington, D.C., set up barricades and pitched tents on H Street NW near the White House and graffitied the historic St. John’s church with “BHAZ” — Black House Autonomous Zone — on Monday, drawing warnings from President Trump.
A plywood sign on H Street was also spray-painted “BHAZ: Black House Autonomous Zone,” in apparent reference to the portion of Seattle dubbed the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” that has been occupied for weeks by anarchists.
BHAZ — Black House Autonomous Zone — has been spray painted on the columns of the historic St. John’s church outside the White House. pic.twitter.com/or2C2myVSX
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) June 23, 2020
Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday that authorities would dismantle the area after multiple shootings. “We have to make sure that any resident, any business, or any visitor that calls for help gets the help they need,” she explained.
President Trump tweeted multiple times about the developments in front of St. John’s, which he visited last month after it was set on fire by rioters in a move that drew criticism for its optics. “There will never be an “Autonomous Zone” in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
Trump also said he had “authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act.”
D.C. officials told the Washington Post that had requested that protestors stop pitching tents in the middle of the street, but were rebuffed.
A Twitter account associated with Antifa tweeted early Monday morning that “Despite reports to the contrary #BHAZ was held.”
Despite reports to the contrary #BHAZ was held. #BHAZ currently consists of #BLMPlaza and H street from 17th to Vermont where barricades have formed to protect #BHAZ activists sleeping from getting hit by cars. #DCProtest #BlackHouseAutonomousZone
— Abolish the police (@alloutdc202) June 23, 2020