Testimonies and videos posted on social media, said the police were on the scene but did not intervene. The president, Donald Trump quickly tweeted about the reversal, the call to DC mayor Muriel Bowser and writing: “The DC police are not doing their job as they looked a statue to be torn down and burned. These people must be stopped immediately. A shame for our country.”Jubilant protesters read Trump’s tweet about a fog horn and applauded. After the statue fell, most of the protesters returned peacefully in Lafayette park near the White House.
The Pike statue has been a source of controversy over the years. The former Confederate general has also long been a leader of influence of freemasonry, who worship the Pike and who paid for the statue. Pike’s body was buried at the DC headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, which also contains a small museum in his honor.
The statue, dedicated in 1901, is located in the Judiciary Square approximately half a mile from the u.s. Capitol. It was built at the request of Masons who have managed to put pressure on the Congress to grant them land for the statue, as long as the Pike would be represented in the civil – military – clothing.
Racial tensions in the country has reached the boiling point and spilled into the streets after Floyd killing the end of last month. Video showed a white police officer pressing his knee against Floyd neck for almost eight minutes, as the handcuffed black man says: “I can’t breathe”. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with murder.
Civil rights activists and some local government officials in DC had campaigned for years to get the statue taken down, but it was necessary, the federal government the authority to do so.
“Since 1992, the members of the DC council have asked the federal government to remove the statue of confederate Albert Pike (federal memorial on federal land). We have to unanimously renew our call to Congress to remove it in 2017,” the DC council tweeted Friday.
A draft resolution calling for the removal of the statue referred to Pike as “the chief founder of the post-civil war Ku Klux Klan.” The Klan connection is a frequent accusation of Pike, the critics, and the Masons of disputes.