D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser renamed a street in front of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and had the slogan painted on the asphalt in massive yellow letters, a pointed salvo in her escalating dispute with President Trump over control of D.C. streets.
City officials said the actions Friday were meant to honor demonstrators who are urging changes in law enforcement practices after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the custody of Minneapolis police.
“There was a dispute this week about whose street it is, and Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear whose street it is and honor the peaceful demonstrators who assembled Monday night,” said John Falcicchio, the mayor’s chief of staff.
For days, Bowser (D) has strongly objected to the escalation of federal law enforcement and the military response to protests and unrest in the nation’s capital.
Trump has urged a crackdown on demonstrators, outraged by sporadic cases of looting during protests in Washington and some other cities. He and Attorney General William P. Barr marshaled a huge influx of federal police and National Guard units to the capital against Bowser’s wishes.
On Friday, city workers included a D.C. flag at the end of the display in front of St. John’s Church, close to where federal law enforcement forcefully cleared the area of largely peaceful protesters Monday night just before Trump walked over and posed for news cameras, a Bible in his hand.