Trump sends a strong-worded warning to protesters in Washington

US President Donald Trump issued a stern warning to protesters in Washington, threatening to use "serious force" if they tried to create a zone for them along the lines of what happened in Seattle.

The day after the police used pepper spray to disperse demonstrators who tried to bring down a statue of a former president just outside the White House, Trump also threatened to impose harsh prison sentences for "anarchists" who had damaged national monuments.

"I have authorized the federal government to arrest anyone who has sabotaged or destroyed any monument, statue, or other federal property in the United States with a prison sentence of up to 10 years," Trump wrote on Twitter.

He added: "This measure is taken immediately, but it can also be used retrospectively for the destruction or sabotage that has already occurred. There will be no exceptions!"

"There will never be an" autonomous region "in Washington, D.C. as long as your president is present. If they try, we will meet them with serious force," he said.

The Republican president was referring to the police-free zone created by the demonstrators in Seattle in Washington state (west of the country) two weeks ago, and sparked anger among the conservatives.

And Saturday, protesters prevented the police from reaching the "Capitol Hill neighborhood" in Seattle after one person was shot dead, and the mayor of the western coastal city announced Monday that they intended to control the area.

In Washington, DC, protesters tried late on Monday evening to topple a huge statue of Andrew Jackson, the president of the country between 1829 and 1837, who was shown riding a horse.

The statue is located just outside the White House, and was targeted because of Jackson's racist history and brutal policies against Native Americans.

The police dispersed the demonstrators with batons and pepper spray, but only after the monument was heavily defaced with symbols and emblems.


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