In Washington, D.C., low-flying military helicopters were used Monday night to disperse crowds of people demonstrating, Fox News reports. Two Lakota helicopters hovered 100 feet above the cities streets, forcing the crowd to scatter. One of the aircraft appeared to be a Black Hawk army helicopter and one had U.S. Army markings.
According to one reporter on the scene, debris was blown around, making it difficult for her to keep her eyes open as the crowd began to leave.
The gusts of wind reached a point where tree branches snapped off and scattered about.
After dispersing, many people returned to the area and an aircraft returned to repeat the maneuver.
Helicopter just flew extremely low over remaining protesters in D.C. Right after some knocked in a few shop windows and window of cop car.
Terrifying & impossible to keep eyes open — too much debris whipped around. People scattering in all directions. pic.twitter.com/Ww8y1mK0zg
— Hannah Natanson (@hannah_natanson) June 2, 2020
The District had a curfew of 7 p.m., and the aircraft were deployed against those who were out past that hour.
The move comes just hours after President Donald Trump had a pathway cleared in front of the White House and historic St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square using what some people have called excessive force on a reportedly peaceful crowd of protesters. National Guard troops and policemen used tear gas and flash grenades to force people gathered in Lafayette Square — a public park in front of the White House — to leave the area so Trump could have a photo opportunity in front of the church, which was set fire to during the protests. The church remained undamaged from the flames.
While the president didn’t offer any prayers or comments on the situation facing the nation during the photo session, he did say in a separate speech that he would use military force to quell the demonstrations across the country.
“I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights,” he said, according to NBC.
“We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now,” he continued, adding that he was a supporter of law and order and peaceful protest.
“If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” he concluded.
Tuesday is the fifth day of unrest in the District after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week.