Police Use Tear Gas To Clear Peaceful Protestors From Lafayette Square For Trump Photo Op At St. John’s Church
On Monday, as the George Floyd protestors demonstrated against racial police violence in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square, police officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to drive away the demonstrators, so that President Donald Trump could make an appearance for a photo op at an Episcopal church.
Law enforcement used tear gas on the crowd in the park, as Trump gave his Rose Garden speech and was about to leave to the St. John’s Church. According to the reporters at the scene, the protests were peaceful.
During the Rose Garden speech, Trump said he was “dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers” to stop the protests from going violent. He criticized the local officials for mishandling the protests and demanded tougher measures.
At St. John’s Church, also known as “the Church of the Presidents,” Trump posed with the Bible for photographers.
The Archbishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, released a public statement, criticizing the Trump’s actions:
“In so doing, he used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes,” he said. “This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us.”
James Martin, a Jesuit priest and consultant to the Vatican’s communications department, tweeted: “The Bible is not a prop.”
Let me be clear. This is revolting. The Bible is not a prop. A church is not a photo op. Religion is not a political tool. God is not your plaything. pic.twitter.com/RZwPeqrwoZ
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 2, 2020
The protests across the country have been going on for a week, sparked by George Floyd’s death. The 46-year-old African American man died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck during the arrest. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder.