The Washington Post reports that members of the far-right group Proud Boys and other supporters of President Donald Trump attacked historic Black churches in Washington, D.C., as they protested the election results on Saturday.
A Black Lives Matter banner and sign were torn from two historic Black churches in downtown D.C. and destroyed during pro-Trump protests Saturday night.
In one of the incidents, videos posted on Twitter show a group of people identified as Proud Boys marching with a Black Lives Matter banner held above their heads, then cheering as it is set on fire while chanting “f— antifa.”
The banner was taken from Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in the city. Asbury United has stood at the corner of 11th and K streets NW since 1836.
Rev. Ianther M. Mills, the church’s senior pastor, said in a statement: “Last night demonstrators who were part of the MAGA gatherings tore down our Black Lives Matter sign and literally burned it in the street. It pained me especially to see our name, Asbury, in flames. For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings.”
In another video posted online by @BGOnTheScene, protesters are seen tearing down a Black Lives Matter sign in front of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church while chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!”
The Post noted that worshippers there “have included historic leaders, such as Frederick Douglass, and presidents, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and William Howard Taft.”
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.”
Per The Post, “D.C. police said they are investigating the events as potential hate crimes.”
Image credit: Screengrab / @ShelbyTalcot / Twitter