Anti-Israel protesters vandalize federal park near White House, no arrests made

Law enforcement agencies confirmed there were no detentions despite vandalism and confrontations with police.

Anti-Israel protesters vandalize federal park near White House, no arrests made
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
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Law enforcement agencies have confirmed that no arrests were made in connection with an anti-Israel protest on Saturday, during which participants trashed a park adjacent to the White House.

The Secret Service, D.C. police, and U.S. Park Police told the Washington Free Beacon that they did not detain anyone related to the demonstration at Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., which left several statues vandalized, the Daily Wire reported.

According to NBC News, police attempted to arrest one individual who climbed a statue but were unsuccessful as members of the crowd intervened, prompting officers to deploy pepper spray. Video footage posted on X by reporter Julio Rosas showed police officers walking out of the park while being followed by protesters chanting, "You have to leave," which later transformed into "F*** the police."

Rosas described the scene, stating, "Anti-Israel protesters formed a mob and chased US Park Police and Secret Service out of Lafayette Square after officers apparently tried to arrest someone. Police are no longer inside the park and are on the boundaries of the protest."

Additional clips shared on social media depicted protesters climbing onto graffiti-covered statues, setting off a red smoke bomb, and unfurling a red banner meant to surround the White House and symbolize their "red line" regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The protesters gathered to demand that President Joe Biden cut military aid to Israel and call for a ceasefire in the Gaza war against Hamas. However, Biden was in France at the time, commemorating the 80th anniversary of World War II's D-Day invasion.

The National Park Service staff power-washed the sculptures on Sunday, with an agency spokesperson confirming "notable damage includes graffiti, damage to some structures and damage to park infrastructure in Lafayette Park," the Washington Post reported.

Several lawmakers, particularly Republicans, expressed outrage at the images of statues covered in spray paint with messages such as "Free Gaza" before crews had cleaned them up. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), a potential running mate for former President Donald Trump in the upcoming election, called the behavior "disgusting" and "disgraceful," attributing it to "terrorist sympathizers."

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