The leader of the far-right Proud Boys group has been arrested after allegedly burning a Black Lives Matter flag.
Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio, 36, was detained by police after arriving in Washington DC ahead of protests planned by Donald Trump’s supporters.
He was taken into custody after a warrant was issued for his arrest for destruction of property, police say.
Tarrio has reportedly admitted torching a flag taken from a historic black church during a rally in December.
He was also facing weapons charges after officers found him with two high-capacity firearm magazines when he was arrested.
A pro-Trump rally in December ended in violence as hundreds of the president’s supporters, some wearing the signature black and yellow of the Proud Boys, confronted counter-protesters attempting to bar them from Black Lives Matter Plaza, an area near the White House.
By nightfall, vandals tore down a Black Lives Matter banner and sign from two historic black churches in downtown Washington and set the banner ablaze.
Video posted online showed people pouring an accelerant on a Black Lives Matter banner near the Asbury United Methodist Church and setting it ablaze in the street as others cheered and cursed last month.
One of the videos showed someone walking up about a minute later and using a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.
Tarrio told The Washington Post he had participated in the burning of the Black Lives Matter banner and said he would plead guilty to destruction of property and pay the church the cost of the banner.
Another video showed men removing a Black Lives Matter sign at the Metropolitan AME Church.
‘We just want to see justice be done,’ the Reverend Dr Ianther Mills, senior pastor at Asbury, said in an interview on Monday night.
The church community is ‘in some ways of course feeling some relief’ following the arrest, Dr Mills added.
Even so, she said, ‘we still remain concerned’ about the high number of expected protesters in the area.
A police spokesman told The Associated Press last month that investigators were probing the incidents as potential hate crimes, but no hate crime charges had been filed against Tarrio.
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