Historic African American Churches Attacked During Pro-Trump Rally In D.C., Black Lives Matter Banner Burned
A pair of prominent African American churches came under attack during pro-Trump protests in Washington, D.C., with video showing crowds tearing down a Black Lives Matter sign in front of one and setting it on fire.
As WUSA-9 reported, the demonstrators took aim at the buildings during raucous protests that stretched into the night following daytime rallies in support of Donald Trump. The Black Lives Matter organization said that one of the incidents took place at Ashbury Methodist, which is the oldest African American church to remain on its original site in the nation’s capital. Metropolitan AME Church also came under attack by the demonstrators, the organization said.
Video that went viral on social media showed a group of people shouting *F*ck Antifa!” as they tore down the Black Lives Matter banner in front of Ashbury Methodist and brought it to the street, where a person set it on fire and poured what appeared to be lighter fluid on top, making the flames shoot even higher. Another group ripped down a Black Lives Matter sign from in front of the Metropolitan AME building.
Senior Pastor Dr. Ianther M. Mills of Ashbury Methodist Church released a statement saying the attacks appeared to be racially motivated, stating it was reminiscent of cross burnings.
Proud Boys and other white supremacists burn a Black Lives Matter sign from the Asbury United Methodist Church in D.C. while dousing it with lighter fluid to intensify the flames. This public act is intended to terrorize and send a message to Black people. https://t.co/0YNsTDaVqF
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) December 13, 2020
The footage led to a backlash online, with many calling on Trump to condemn the incidents. The president was vocally critical of protests that spread across the country earlier this year, decrying acts of violence that took place as demonstrators called for justice for George Floyd and an end to racial inequality.
Members of the Black Lives Matter organization in Washington, D.C. have called on the Department of Justice to open a federal civil rights investigation into the attacks, saying they believe white supremacist groups may have been involved.
The attacks came amid a series of violent incidents as thousands of people came to the nation’s capital to show their support for Trump and protest the results of the 2020 presidential election. As NBC Washington reported, four people were stabbed amid a series of violent clashes throughout the evening hours. Video showed members of the far-right group Proud Boys attacking other groups of counter-protesters.
Police have charged a 29-year-old man with assault with a dangerous weapon in connection to a quadruple stabbing, police said. One assault victim was taken to the hospital with injuries, though they were described as non-life threatening.