Washington D.C. Mayor Has 'Black Lives Matter' Painted on Street Leading to White House

washington dc black lives matter 16th street
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/Assisted by City of DC

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had a message painted on a city street Friday morning: Black Lives Matter. Bowser tweeted a video of the bright yellow letters, which run down 16th street near the White House. 

"There was a dispute this week about whose street this is," Bowser's chief of staff John J. Falcicchio tweeted in response to a local reporter. "Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear that this is DC's street and to honor demonstrators who peacefully protesting on Monday evening."

Falcicchio was apparently referring to President Trump, whose handling of Black Lives Matter protests in the city has been criticized as militaristic. On Monday, law enforcement outside the White House deployed tear gas to disperse protesters before Mr. Trump walked to a historic church and posed for photos. This was just after Mr. Trump delivered a speech from the White House, in which he threatened to deploy the U.S. military against protesters in U.S. cities while declaring himself "your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters."

In addition to painting "Black Lives Matter" on the street, Bowser officially named the section of 16th street in front of the White House "Black Lives Matter Plaza."

Crowds gathered on the street corner on Friday as a city crew member added a sign to the street post. 

Protesters in Washington, D.C. have held largely peaceful demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd's death. But there were some clashes late in the evening last weekend, with scattered fires and looting in the capital. The Lincoln and World War II memorials were vandalized, as was St. John's Episcopal Church. 

In response, Bowser announced curfews that extended through Thursday morning, and requested national guard troops to assist D.C. law enforcement.

The new additions to D.C. come one day after Mayor Bowser requested that Mr. Trump withdraw "all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence" from the city.

The mayor has spoken out against against Mr. Trump sending National Guard troops from other states to the District of Columbia and has questioned his legal authority to do so. 

Bowser said in her letter to Mr. Trump, which she also posted on Twitter, that she has ended the state of emergency in the city related to the demonstrations, noting that the Metropolitan Police Department did not make a single arrest on Wednesday evening. Bowser said that the city government was "well equipped" to handle peaceful protests without federal assistance.

This story was originally published to CBS News on June 5, 2020, at 3:06 p.m. ET.


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