Vandals spray-painted the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church a block away from the White House with the letters “B-H-A-Z,” for “Black House Autonomous Zone,” according to videos that surfaced on social media on Monday evening.
St. John’s Church has been vandalized with spray paint reading BHAZ (Black House Autonomous Zone) pic.twitter.com/8D7UITVTK0
— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) June 23, 2020
— Mike Valerio (@MikevWUSA) June 23, 2020
BHAZ = Black House Autonomous Zone pic.twitter.com/8O7VUlc5q0
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) June 23, 2020
Activists have created a so-called autonomous zone in Seattle, named the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” or CHAZ. Recently, they renamed it the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest,” or CHOP.
Every president since James Madison has attended a service at St. John’s. Former President Barack Obama’s visits to the church were heavily covered by media when he was in office.
Here's President Obama when he took a walk from The White House to St. John's to attend church services. pic.twitter.com/YNskx3CDgz
— Michael Wear (@MichaelRWear) June 1, 2020
However, rioters have repeatedly defaced the church amid recent protests in Washington, D.C. On May 31, rioters set fire to the basement of the church.
On June 1, President Donald Trump walked across Lafayette Park to the damaged church and held up a Bible, as Breitbart News reported:
President Donald Trump on Monday announced at the White House that he would act swiftly to end the widespread violence and looting in America’s major cities.
After his speech, the president walked to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church outside the White House where rioters lit a damaging fire in the basement on Sunday.
After his speech, the president walked through Lafayette Park to the historic church that was closed and boarded up after the violence on Sunday. He stood for a few moments with members of his cabinet and White House staff.
The president also stood and held up a Bible in front of the church.
Violence in the capitol subsided after President Trump fully activated the D.C. National Guard and called in active duty forces to be put on standby.
In recent days, however, rioters have focused on tearing down statues of former presidents, and historical figures, including some who opposed slavery.
Rioters were also attempting to take down the statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park on Monday evening. Police are reportedly trying to keep the rioters at bay.