Trump says people who destroy US monuments should be jailed

Warning comes amid anger over statues following protests over racism and policing

A row of police officers stand in a row with the equestrian statue of former US President General Andrew Jackson behind, after protesters tried to toppled it, at Lafayette square, in front of the White House, in Washington. Photograph: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

A row of police officers stand in a row with the equestrian statue of former US President General Andrew Jackson behind, after protesters tried to toppled it, at Lafayette square, in front of the White House, in Washington. Photograph: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

 

US president Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated his warning that those who destroy US monuments on federal property would be arrested and face jail time, hours after protesters tried to topple a statue of former president Andrew Jackson near the White House.

He tweeted: “I have authorised the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the US with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent.....This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”

Mr Trump’s warning on Twitter comes as a growing swath of such statues, many paying homage to the rebel Confederacy from the nation’s Civil War-era, have been targeted amid weeks of protests over racism and policing.