United States President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he’s authorised the government to arrest anyone who vandalises or destroys a monument or statue.
HE added that this act could carry a 10-year prison sentence
“I have authorised the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalises or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the US with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s (sic) Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent,” Trump tweeted.
“This action is taken immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”
Trump’s threat comes as anti-racism demonstrations continue in the US following George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis. Video shows a white police officer pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes as the handcuffed black man said: “I can’t breathe.”
The issue of the enslavement of African-Americans tore the United States apart when southern states broke away to form the Confederate States of America to protect slavery. Northern states defeated the South in the Civil War to restore the Union.
But slavery’s legacy continues to haunt race relations in America. In recent history, controversies over symbols of the Confederacy, such as statues of its leaders and its battle flag, have erupted. Those arguing for their removal say they symbolise racism and oppression, while those opposing such action call them signifiers of southern heritage and pride, which can improve the present day by learning from the historical mistakes