Lafayette Square statues vandalized during protest against Gaza ceasefire

Statues and structures around the White House were tagged and vandalized Saturday during the Gaza ceasefire protest, although the National Park Service said officials were still assessing the The extent and cost of the damage Sunday, part of a cleanup effort focused on Lafayette Square.

Thousands of protesters — many of whom arrived on buses from more than two dozen cities — surrounded the perimeter of the White House with a wide swath of red fabric on Saturday, saying they were drawing a red line to President Biden and calling for a ceasefire. -gas fire. During the rally, protesters were seen scrawling graffiti on several sculptures in Lafayette Square.

Jasmine Shanti, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said in a statement Sunday afternoon that agency staff were “still assessing the extent of the damage caused by Saturday’s protest and march around the White House.” .

“Notable damage includes graffiti, damage to some structures and damage to infrastructure in Lafayette Park,” Shanti said, adding at 6 p.m. that there was “still no update on the time of completion of cleaning and repair. Shanti did not provide further details on the damage to structures and infrastructure.

A Washington Post journalist who visited the White House area on Sunday afternoon did not see any damage beyond the graffiti. In Lafayette Square, the sculptures were taped off while workers pressure-washed them.

Information on the cost of the cleanup was not immediately available. The U.S. Secret Service said in a separate statement Sunday that there had been no arrests or permanent property damage to the White House or adjacent buildings related to the ceasefire protests.

Photos from Lafayette Square during the protest show protesters writing on the base of a sculpture of Comte de Rochambeau, a French army commander who fought alongside George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Messages scrawled on the base of one of the park’s sculptures included “Liberate Gaza,” “Ceasefire now” and “Shame on you Joe.”

A sculpture of Andrew Jackson on a horse – in the center of Lafayette Square – was covered Saturday in red handprints and graffiti with purple text reading “Boycott Israeli products.”

On Sunday afternoon, a National Park Service crew was pressure washing the statues. By 3 p.m., most of the graffiti on the Andrew Jackson statue had been washed away. But paint, stickers and other markings were still visible on three of the park’s four central statues, including those built to honor Revolutionary War heroes, such as the Marquis de Lafayette statue in the southeast corner of the park.

Other crew members were seen with paint stripper, while some park visitors took photos and videos of the cleanup effort. Some graffiti had been scrawled outside the park, including on the exterior of the nearby U.S. Treasury building.

However, outside the White House, few traces remained of Saturday’s protest, as tourists ate ice cream and posed for photos outside its gates.

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