Thousands of far-right Proud Boys who refuse to accept the results of the 2020 election turned downtown Washington, D.C. into a war zone, vandalizing a historic Black church’s Black Lives Matter banner and then setting fire to it while attacking drivers caught up in the mayhem.
“After the sun went down, their antics escalated. Proud Boys and pro-Trump demonstrators repeatedly faced off with counterprotesters near Black Lives Matter Plaza, Franklin Square, Harry’s Bar — a hangout popular with Trump supporters — and other spots around downtown,” The Washington Post reported Saturday. “The Proud Boys became increasingly angry as they wove through streets and alleys, only to find police continuously blocking their course with lines of bikes.”
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) December 13, 2020
According to Sawyer Hackett, a senior advisor to Julian Castro, a mob of Proud Boys were caught on video ripping down “Blacks Lives Matter flags *off of churches* in DC.”
A second video shows the group setting fire to a BLM banner while using some kind of accelerant.
Now they’re burning it. pic.twitter.com/Umz80dIw7y
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) December 13, 2020
According to The Washington Post: “The banner was taken from Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in the city. Ashbury United has stood at the corner of 11th and K streets NW since 1836.”
“Last night demonstrators who were part of the MAGA gatherings tore down our Black Lives Matter sign and literally burned it in the street,” the Rev. Ianther M. Mills, the church’s senior pastor, said in a statement. “It pained me especially to see our name, Asbury, in flames. For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings.”
D.C. police said they are investigating the events as potential hate crimes.
Another video, posted by @BGOnTheScene, shows a Black Lives Matter sign being torn down from in front of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church at 15th and M streets NW.
The group can be heard chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” as they destroy the sign in front of the church where worshipers have included historic leaders, such as Frederick Douglass, and presidents, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and William Howard Taft.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) December 13, 2020
In response, William H. Lamar IV, pastor of Metropolitan AME, tweeted: “We have not been distracted by signs, sounds, or fury for nearly two centuries. We worship. We liberate. We serve.”
Another video shows a mob of Trump supporters surrounding a car at Thomas Circle, accusing the driver and front-seat passenger of being liberals because they were wearing face masks inside of the vehicle, according to ABC7’s Kevin Lewis.
“One Trump supporter slapped the car’s side window as it sped away,” Lewis noted.
It’s a fascist street gang, roaming the nation’s capital and harassing people just trying to live their lives. https://t.co/cpLxY2V5CL
— Cameron Peters (@jcameronpeters) December 13, 2020
One protester was spotted wearing a “Death to Liberals” t-shirt while standing in the middle of a group of Proud Boys.
Trump said stand back and stand by…
Trump must have given the the green light today at the Whitehouse. pic.twitter.com/79Lstpg319
— Mleeyoung1013 (@You1Michelle) December 13, 2020
The mob (some had PB colors, couldn’t make out others) marched the two young men to Thomas Circle & let them go, all while yelling at them. Some other Black guys on bikes rolled up & the pro-Trump mob tried to fight them too, taunting them to “come help your comrades.”
— Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam) December 13, 2020
The violence surrounding the Proud Boys marching in downtown DC tonight took place a block away from Ford’s Theatre. If you needed any additional symbolism. https://t.co/S3r5bNDT6r
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) December 13, 2020
— Terrence Daniels (Captain 🍀 Planet) (@Terrence_STR) December 13, 2020
— Nicholas Bongiovanni (@NicholasBongio5) December 13, 2020
Thousands of Proud Boys in DC 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/Xc4XaZQVVY
— Art TakingBack 🇺🇸 (@ArtValley818_) December 13, 2020