"America was never great," chanted members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, before their leader, activist Joey Johnson set a U.S. flag on fire.
Left-wing militants burnt a United States (U.S.) flag and clashed with supporters of President Donald Trump outside the White House on Thursday, a few moments before the U.S. president got on stage for his “Salute to America.”
Secret service stepped immediately in to extinguish the flames.
"I'm going to be speaking to the people of the world letting them know that there are people inside the borders of this country who stand with the people of the world," had said Johnson in a statement released before the event, explaining the reason why he was going to lead the protest.
Johnson’s group then clashed with a group of Trump’s supporters who chanted "Trump 2020," the two groups trade scuffles that turned violent. The protests took place just a few meters from the crowds who had gathered to listen to Trump’s July 4th speech and to watch the fireworks display.
Many protesters, including Johnson, were then conducted in handcuffs by the Secret Service.
Among them were members of the Proud Boys, a far-right white nationalist group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group.
Trump’s "Salute to America" was July’s Fourth celebration's main event in Washington, yet it wasn't short on controversy for the central role that U.S. military equipment played and the million dollar cost for taxpayers.
Trump swept away any criticism of the event and said the military was "thrilled" to be part of it.