Lafayette Square near the White House reopens to public

The Washington park was closed for about a year following protests over George Floyd's murder

Jennifer & Abigail Lyle and John Taylor, from North carolina, pose for a selfie in Lafayette Square following its reopening near the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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Lafayette Square, the public park facing the White House, reopened on Monday about a year after federal authorities fenced off the area at the height of nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The square, which offers perhaps the best view of the White House to the public, was closed after US Park Police officers last June forcefully dispersed protesters near the White House.

The protesters were ejected from the square shortly before Donald Trump, US president at the time, walked across the park to stand near a church to pose before cameras holding a Bible.

The church was damaged the night before Mr Trump’s photo-op, when a fire was set in the basement of the building during protests.

Fencing still surrounds the square named after an American Revolutionary War hero, but entrances on the northern side of the park were opened to the public on Monday morning.

Lafayette Square has long been one of the nation’s most prominent venues for demonstrations.

Derek Chauvin, 45, the white Minneapolis police officer caught on video kneeling on the neck of Floyd for more than nine minutes, was convicted last month of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of Floyd, who was black.

The Justice Department last week announced that Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis officers were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of breaching the civil rights of Floyd.