US President Donald Trump has directed harsh criticism at the Washington Metropolitan Police, against the backdrop of angering protesters with a statue of a Confederate general during the Civil War, Albert Pike.

In a tweet posted on Friday on his Twitter account, Trump blamed the city’s mayor, Democrat Muriel Bawser, of the Metropolitan Police for the failure to intervene to prevent the statue from being overthrown.

He stated: “Washington police do not perform their duties when you continue to drop the statue and set fire to it. These people must be arrested immediately, and this is a Disgrace to our country!”

Media reported that a group of protesters toppled the Pike statue Friday night near the police headquarters in the capital and set it on fire.

NBC reported that the police did not immediately intervene in the matter, and did not take any action against the protesters.

This is part of a series of desecrations and statues of historical figures in the United States and abroad that anti-racist protesters consider to be linked to racial discrimination.

These protests erupted against the backdrop of the killing of the young man with dark skin, George Floyd, in the American city of Minneapolis, by a policeman during his arrest earlier.