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Tale of two Americas: White House and Black Lives Matter Plaza juxtaposed on July 4th

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 7/6/2020 Courtney Pomeroy

There were two prominent moods in the nation's capital on July 4th. 

At the White House and in areas where tourists gathered to watch fireworks associated with President Donald Trump's Salute to America, there was patriotism and pride.

At Black Lives Matter Plaza, and later when demonstrators moved to the National Mall, there was flag burning and frustration.

The president's “Salute to America” celebration began at 6:40 p.m. with the Golden Knights Parachute Team landing on the Ellipse and a presidential speech from the White House South Lawn. 

The speech addressed, among other things, the unrest in the nation following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

"American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the Earth," he said. "We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing."

The president used the same terminology - anarchists and agitators - when saying late last month that he wanted the maximum punishment available under federal law for those who destroy or tamper with statues on public property that commemorate anyone who served in the U.S. military. This came after protesters attempted to bring down the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park, which is very close to the White House.

In recent weeks, protesters have gathered en masse at Black Lives Matter Plaza, which is also very near the White House.

Today was no different. At one point, ABC7's Kevin Lewis reports, demonstrators burned an American flag. Very few people even looked up as the Salute to America flyovers occurred.

Kevin Lewis reports from Black Lives Matter Plaza on July 4, 2020

A little later on, demonstrators moved onto the National Mall. Police arrived to monitor the scene. As tensions rose, the planned fireworks show began. (Some of the video below is unedited and may contain content that is unsuitable for certain viewers. Discretion is advised.)

Demonstrators and police on the National Mall on July 4, 2020

Ultimately, it seems like the confrontation died down in the midst of a nearly 40-minute fireworks show.


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