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DC mayor orders city public works crew to paint massive 'Black Lives Matter' message on street leading to White House


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Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) directed a city public works crew to paint "Black Lives Matter" in large block letters spanning two blocks of 16th street — a street that leads directly to the White House.

The move comes amid the protests across the country following the death of George Floyd, who was killed when a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

What are the details?

Painters, part of a city public works crew, painted the letters, which were street-width, on Friday.

According to Bowser's chief of staff, the move was intended to make it "abundantly clear" that the street belonged to Washington, D.C.


In a tweet, John Falcicchio wrote, "There was a dispute 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 [sic] peacefully protesting on Monday evening."

WRC-TV reported on Friday that Bowser also renamed the stretch of street to "Black Lives Matter Plaza."

"We want to call attention today to making sure our nation is more fair and more just and that black lives and that black humanity matter in our nation," Bowser said in a statement.

The move comes ahead of a march in downtown D.C. on Saturday that is expected to draw thousands of protesters.


What else?

In a Thursday letter, Bowser requested President Donald Trump to withdraw federal law enforcement and military from the city.

A portion of the letter read, "The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrations and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans."

Bowser cited the reason for the move in order to avoid "safety and national security risks."

"The safety and freedom of the residents and visitors to the District of Columbia is paramount," Bowser wrote. "My view is that law enforcement should be in place to protect the rights of American citizens, not restrict them."

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