The White House has been on high alert for the past couple of days amid a wave of civil unrest that has taken hold across the nation.
Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. has been the scene of volatile protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, The Hill reports.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man from Minnesota, lost his life during an arrest by Minneapolis police. Now a former officer, Derek Chauvin had a handcuffed Floyd pinned to the ground while pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for a period of almost nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for air. Floyd eventually lost consciousness and was subsequently pronounced dead at the hospital, according to local Fox 9.
Chauvin and three of his colleagues, who were at the scene of the incident, have lost their jobs, and Chauvin has also been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, according to CBS News.
Protesters gather near White House
As a result of Floyd’s death, protests — both peaceful and violent — have broken out across the country, including in the immediate vicinity of the White House.
The White House-area protests began on Friday evening when over a thousand demonstrators marched down Pennsylvania Avenue into the wee hours of the morning, The Guardian reported. Then, the protests picked back up on Saturday, with hundreds trying to make their way to the White House.
The rioters threw bricks and water bottles and knocked down barricades as they engaged with law enforcement, which included U.S. Secret Services agents outfitted with riot gear, according to The Guardian.
In response to the growing mob, law enforcement personnel used riot shields, batons, and pepper spray in an attempt to keep things under control.
On Saturday, the U.S. Secret Service issued a statement on Twitter announcing the arrest of six different individuals for their involvement in the protests.
Trump praises Secret Service
As sizable protests have broken out in major cities across the country, President Donald Trump has been especially critical of the manner in which state and local officials, particularly Democratic mayors and governors, have responded — or not responded — to the rioters. But Trump was apparently pleased with law enforcement’s response in the nation’s capital.
After events appeared to be relatively in hand following Friday night’s round of protests, Trump praised the U.S. Secret Service for its efforts, saying:
The professionally managed so-called ‘protesters’ at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble. The @SecretService handled them easily. Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”
Unfortunately, Saturday saw yet another night of unrest in D.C. and in major cities across the country that left three dead, hundreds arrested and countless businesses devastated by vandalism and arson, according to Fox News.