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Department of Homeland Security to safeguard US monuments

The White House is visible behind a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Washington, with the word "Killer" spray painted on its base. Protesters tried to topple the statue Monday night. President Tump had tweeted late Monday that those who tried to topple the statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House faced 10 years in prison under the Veteran's Memorial Preservation Act.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The White House is visible behind a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Washington, with the word "Killer" spray painted on its base. Protesters tried to topple the statue Monday night. President Tump had tweeted late Monday that those who tried to topple the statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House faced 10 years in prison under the Veteran's Memorial Preservation Act. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – The federal agency that was created to improve the nation’s response to terrorism announced Wednesday that it will be adding the protection of statues and monuments to its mission.

Acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says the agency has established a task force to protect historic landmarks against vandalism and destruction from “violent anarchists and rioters" around the nation.

Wolf said DHS personnel would be deployed over the Fourth of July weekend to protect landmarks in the event of any civil unrest.

“We want to make sure that our facilities are protected, the statues and monuments on those facilities are protected and of course the people that work in those buildings are protected as well,” he said in an interview on “Fox & Friends.”

The establishment of the task force comes at the direction of President Donald Trump, who issued an executive order Friday directing federal authorities to protect monuments after protesters tried to pull down a statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House.

Demonstrators protesting the killing by police of George Floyd in Minneapolis have toppled or damaged statues of historic figures during recent demonstrations against racial injustice. Many of the statues have ties to Colonialism or the Confederacy.