Roughly 100 people gathered around 11 p.m. ET in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night to pull down a statue of Confederate Army Gen. Albert Pike. The statue was located in Judiciary Square.
Protesters are now scaling the Albert Pike statue, wrapping chains around it pic.twitter.com/HlsBt0txta— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 20, 2020
While protesters are scaling the Albert Pike statue, figuring out where to wrap the ropes, a group of people are on the ground are holding on to the ropes. Another group is forming a circle around them, standing between them and cops. Police are not intervening pic.twitter.com/o2AVV9AnPO— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 20, 2020
Right now they are struggling to pull down the statue. Some are suggesting to wrap more rope around the head, other suggestions being thrown out too pic.twitter.com/7HTsFYQUue— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 20, 2020
And here is what the front of the statue says now: pic.twitter.com/SJ9b8XU6M7— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 20, 2020
They are on a one minute break. They have a new strategy and new positions. “Rope perpendicular to legs.” DC police are nearby watching pic.twitter.com/S8PEQ7kS9u— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 20, 2020
And protesters just toppled the Albert Pike statue in DC pic.twitter.com/gEzJm0OYjd— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 20, 2020
They have now lit the toppled statue on fire pic.twitter.com/53nrC4G72u— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 20, 2020
When President Donald Trump received word of the destruction, he took to Twitter to blast DC Mayor Muriel Bowser because the "D.C. Police are not doing their job."
The D.C. Police are not doing their job as they watch a statue be ripped down & burn. These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our Country! @MayorBowser— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2020
The group hit the streets again to continue their march. At one point a man with a microphone read President Trump's tweet.
Protesters just read President Trump’s tweet about the statue toppling over on the megaphone pic.twitter.com/K9TEQTmHoS— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 20, 2020
According to DC History Sites, Pike's statue was the only statue in D.C. that honored a Confederate general. In the late 1800s, the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry petitioned Congress to erect a statue in Pike's honor. Those that fought on behalf of the Union Army had opposition to the statue because of Pike's allegiance to the Confederacy. The statue was eventually greenlighted because it focused on Pike's life in the freemasonry and outside of the Confederate Army.
Back in 2017, members of the D.C. Council called for the statue's removal, citing Pike's dedication to the Confederacy and him being a "strong proponent of slavery," the DCist reported.
“Albert Pike was a strong proponent of slavery and fought to try to preserve that in this country. Regardless of what he did in other parts of his life, it’s inappropriate to honor him,” At-large Councilmember David Grosso said at the time.