Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that protesters who deface statues would face up to 10 years in prison, one night after police thwarted demonstrators’ attempts to tear down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson near the White House.

The president said he would sign an executive order reinforcing existing laws.”I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison,” the president tweeted.

“I will have an executive order very shortly. And all it’s really going to do is reinforce what’s already there, but in a more uniform way,” the president said on Twitter, calling protesters who deface statues “vandals, hoodlums, anarchists and agitators.”

On Monday night, protesters threw ropes around the statue of Jackson at the Lafayette Square and began trying to pull it down before the police intervened.

Protesters did manage to smash the wooden wheels of four replica canons at the base of the statue astride a horse, said a Washington Post report, adding “protesters threw things at police, and officers shoved people in the melee.”Jackson, the seventh U.S. president, signed the Indian Removal Act in May 1830, which led to the relocations of thousands of Native Americans and the deaths of thousands more when he was in office.

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