Trump Would Use “Serious Force” If Protesters Set Up Autonomous Zone in D.C.

President Donald Trump said he would use “serious force” against protesters if they set up an autonomous zone in Washington, D..C.

“There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!” he wrote.

The president’s comment is a reference to Seattle’s self-declared Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone that was set up after authorities abandoned the city’s East Precinct. Millions have rallied against racial injustice and police brutality around the nation since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

“Since then, hundreds of people have been gathering in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where the atmosphere has been part peaceful protest, part commune, with speeches, distribution of free food, live music, a community garden and late-night movie screening,” NBC News reported last month.

Many soon criticized the president, who has threatened to use force against protesters before.

Last week, the president issued a threat against anyone wishing to protest against a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma that took place on Saturday.

“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” he wrote on Twitter. “It will be a much different scene!”

The president has backed police officers and the unions behind them and has in the past had tweets flagged by Twitter for promoting violence, including one instance when he promised “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”