Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser commissioned a massive “Black Lives Matter” mural near the White House early Friday, to send a message to President Donald Trump that the capital’s streets belong to the city.
Bowser also renamed a section of 16th Street in front of “the people’s house” as Black Lives Matter Plaza.
On Thursday, Bowser wrote a letter to Trump demanding that he withdraw U.S. military forces and federal law–enforcement officers from D.C., saying they are “inflaming” and “adding to the grievances” of those protesting over the murder of George Floyd.
USA Today reports: Muralists began painting “BLACK LIVES MATTER” in large yellow paint on a block of 16th Street in Washington, D.C. Friday, just in front of Lafayette Park, the site of protests over the past week against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. … Bowser chief of staff John Falcicchio wrote on Twitter, “There was a dispute this week about whose street this week about whose street this is. Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear that this is DC’s street and to honor demonstrators who peacefully protested on Monday evening.” Municipal dump trucks blocked off the street, preventing cars from passing through as people painted the street-width letters, and NBC Washington reported the painters were part of a city public works crew. Bowser, a Democrat, has criticized the federal government’s handling of the protests in the city. She visited the protests on Wednesday and said Thursday she would “push back” on the federal presence in the city as dozens of federal law enforcement units and the National Guard deployed.
More from the Washington Post: The art will take up two blocks on 16th Street, between K and H streets, affirming the cause of thousands who have demonstrated in the nation’s capital and across the country to protest the killing in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man from Minneapolis. Trump has urged a crackdown on protesters, outraged by sporadic cases of looting in some cities, and has marshaled a huge influx of federal police and National Guard units to the capital against the mayor’s wishes. … The Black Lives Matter DC group reacted to the street painting with criticism of the mayor, saying she should decrease the budget for the Metropolitan Police Department and “invest in the community.” “This is performative and a distraction from her active counter organizing to our demands.” the group said on Twitter. “Black Lives Matter means Defund the police.”