US Park Police investigate ‘criminal activity’ after anti-Israel protests at White House

U.S. Park Police say they are investigating “criminal activity” after anti-Israel agitators vandalized statues in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square over the weekend. Thousands swarmed the area in front of the White House on Saturday to protest President Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war, with many waving pro-Palestinian flags and chanting “Free Palestine” as they marched around the nation’s capital. The protest descended into chaos after some demonstrators turned their attention to the statues in Lafayette Square just outside the White House and vandalized them with spray paint and graffiti. Other demonstrators turned their attention to park rangers working the area, shouting “F— you, fascist!” and “Piggy, piggy, oink, oink!” Water bottles were aggressively thrown at rangers. Another man wearing a Hamas headband held up a bloody face mask that depicted Biden and shouted, “Down, down occupation!” while another demonstrator lit an American flag on fire.THOUSANDS OF ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTERS GATHERED OUTSIDE WHITE HOUSE AS ISRAEL CONDUCTED HOSTAGE RESCUE MISSION”This investigation is ongoing and United States Park Police investigators are looking to identify anyone involved in criminal activity that occurred on Saturday,” the public information office for the National Park Service (NPS) told Fox News Digital. “The safety of our employees and our visitors is our top priority. National Park Service (NPS) managers, in conjunction with local officials, engage in event planning to provide for public safety during permitted demonstrations,” an NPS spokesperson said. “Unfortunately, Saturday’s permitted demonstration resulted in an assault of a park ranger, injuries to two U.S. Park Police officers, and significant damage to the park resources. NPS staff are currently undertaking extensive cleanup and repair efforts to address the damage,” the spokesperson said. GOP SENATOR CALLS FOR JAN 6 STYLE INVESTIGATION INTO DC ANTI-ISRAEL DEMONSTRATION”The NPS has long recognized freedom of speech, press, religion, and public assembly. National parks and other public lands are the embodiment of our democracy. First Amendment activities, such as demonstrations, are activities protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” the spokeperson said, adding that it adheres to a provision in the U.S. code “that enables parks to accommodate First Amendment activity at designated spaces within the park, while also protecting park resources and values and minimizing the impact on park visitors and park operations.”ANTI-ISRAEL AGITATOR IN HAMAS HEADBAND HOLDS UP BLOODIED BIDEN FACE MASK STEPS FROM WHITE HOUSE”NPS staff work every day across the country to protect and preserve park resources, educate visitors, and inspire stewardship of some of our nation’s most treasured places. Defacement or vandalism of natural or cultural resources in national parks is not allowed at any time,” NPS said. The protesters argued that Israel has crossed a “red line” of “genocide” in Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel explained details of its weeks-long plans for Saturday’s hostage rescue mission, which saved the lives of four Israeli citizens who were captured during Hamas’ October 7 attack.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP “The intention is to draw a red line where Biden won’t draw one when it comes to Israel’s genocide in Gaza, and say we as the people are drawing the red line today to say enough is enough,” Nas Issa, a protester from the Palestinian Youth Movement, told NBC News. “It’s time for an arms embargo, and it’s time to end this.”Another protester told the outlet that she regrets voting for Biden in 2020 and that she “will never vote for him again.”Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report. 
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