US President Donald Trump on Friday said that he has signed an executive order to protect the country’s monuments and statues from vandalism.
Taking to Twitter, Trump said, “I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combating recent Criminal Violence”.
I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2020
“Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”, Trump further posted.
According to the local media report, the order enforces laws prohibiting the desecration of public monuments, the vandalism of government property, and recent acts of violence, withholds federal support tied to public spaces from state and local governments that have failed to protect public monuments, and withdraws federal grants for jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies that fail to stop their desecration.
Earlier this week, thousands of protesters tried to topple the statue of a former US President Andrew Jackson near the White House as police responded with pepper spray to break up new demonstrations that erupted in Washington.
A wave of nationwide rallies calling for racial justice has swept the United States since the May 25 death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On Tuesday, the President said that he would sign such an executive order, one night after police thwarted demonstrators’ attempts to tear down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson near the White House.
Protesters who were supporting the statues’ removal said that the monuments are in memory of figures believed to be symbols of racism.
During a press conference, Trump has said that the executive order would “consolidate various things.”
The Veterans Memorial Preservation Act, a federal law passed in 2003, already makes it a crime to destroy or attempt to destroy a plaque, monument or statue “commemorating the service” of anyone who served in the armed forces.
The law carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, according to another US media outlet report.
(With inputs from agency)