- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2020

Demonstrators outside the White House have declared a “Black House Autonomous Zone,” in apparent imitation of the secessionist enclave in Seattle.

According to video from on-scene reporters at Lafayette Park, the demonstrators are marking the Zone by, among other things, desecrating St. John’s Episcopal Church.

One video from the Daily Caller showed the letters “BHAZ” spray painted on the columns holding up the traditional “church of presidents.”

The church was vandalized despite having been very receptive for weeks toward the protesters, even criticizing President Trump for posing in front of the church after police had cleared out an earlier round of demonstrators from Lafayette Park.

SEE ALSO: Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square saved by police amid protests

Mr. Trump himself noted the vandalism against the church Monday night, in a tweet that threatened lengthy prison terms on rioters who attack historic sites.

“Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street. 10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!” he wrote.

Police would later establish a security perimeter around the demonstrators at the historic church.

Other video footage showed people setting up fences, traffic barriers and boards marked “BHAZ,” “Black House Autonomous Zone” and “People’s Fence.”

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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