Fire raged through the 205-year-old St. Jonh's Episcopal Church in Washington DC, as protests over the brutal killing of George Floyd turned violent. The historic church is situated just 300 meters from the White House and has been attended by every U.S. President since it was opened in 1816.
Protests are raging in several cities in the United States over the death of George Floyd at the hands of four police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd, a 46-year old African American man, was caught on camera being assaulted by four white police officers. The now-ousted Derek Chauvin was seen kneeling on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes as he gasped for air. He passed out and later died sparking protests throughout the country. On several occasions, such protests have turned violent, resulting in riots and vandalism.
On Sunday, protesters in Washington DC were seen pulling down the U.S. flag hoisted on top of the church, as fires raged in front of it. Graffiti was sprayed on the walls of the historic church and moments later its basement was set ablaze.
It isn't clear how exactly the church caught fire, but according to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), it was "intentional". Firefighters soon reached the scene, but the police had to use tear gas to disperse crowds, for the firefighters to do their job, RT reported.
Multiple instances of arson and vandalism were reported around the White House. The office of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL CIO) was targeted with the glass broken, graffiti painted. The fire could also be seen inside the building.
In aerial footage of the city, several fires could be seen, including in front of the historic Washington Monument, constructed in the 1850s in the honor of George Washington.
Such acts of arson and vandalism have been reported in several parts of the country. Shops and malls were looted, private and public properties damaged and in some cases, set ablaze.