WATCH: DC city workers paint GIANT Black Lives Matter mural on street near WH, BLM calls it ‘performative’
Work on the protest mural began in front of Lafayette Park, just north of the White House, on Friday morning, as municipal dump trucks blocked off the street to allow painters to complete the giant work, which stretches across two blocks.
Yesterday at this time a line of heavily armed non-communicative federal agents stood here guarding the street. Today the city of DC is painting a beautiful bright yellow Black Lives Matter mural on 16th St. right in front of the White House pic.twitter.com/IBGFaYRhpv— Arty Berko (@artyberko) June 5, 2020
Protestors painting Black Lives Matter on 16th street pic.twitter.com/QWJMwMegXr— Cynthia Brumfield (@msbrumfield) June 5, 2020
Later on Friday, the mayor tweeted footage of a new street sign going up on one part of the street close to the White House, saying that it was now "officially 'Black Lives Matter Plaza'."
The section of 16th street in front of the White House is now officially “Black Lives Matter Plaza”. pic.twitter.com/bbJgAYE35b— Mayor Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@MayorBowser) June 5, 2020
The area has been the site of major protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
The protests became a bone of contention between DC’s Democrat mayor and federal authorities after a barrier was erected across multiple city blocks to keep demonstrators from approaching the White House, following clashes with members of the Secret Service.
The painting of the mural was directed by Bowser’s office ahead of a planned large protest on Saturday.
However, the local chapter of Black Lives Matter has criticized the mural as “performative,” insisting instead that the mayor decrease the city’s police budget and invest that money back into the community.
This is performative and a distraction from her active counter organizing to our demands to decrease the police budget and invest in the community. Black Lives Matter means Defund the police. @FenitN@wusa9@ABC7News@IGD_News@newshttps://t.co/8VUnHOBtsg— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) June 5, 2020
Bowser has been vocally critical of the federal government’s response to the protests. She met with protesters on Wednesday and vowed the following day that she would “push back” against the deployment of federal police and national guardsmen.
“We are all very concerned about how the federal assets pushed out from the federal complex and we worked with them to push back,” Bowser said on Thursday. “We are subject to the whims of the federal government. Sometimes they are benevolent and sometimes they are not. And so we have to fix it.”
On Friday, the mayor wrote to Trump, urging the president to “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from our city.”
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