The Washington, D.C. mayor has renamed a plaza outside of the White House to “Black Lives Matter” — a move many are praising for its defiance against President Donald Trump.
Mayor Muriel Bowser directed city crews on Friday to paint the two-block long mural in honor of protesters who took to the streets this past week following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in white police custody.
The mural consists of large, yellow block-letters spelling out the words “Black Lives Matter” across 16th street, which leads to Lafayette Square and the White House.
According to CNN, Bowser told reporters that she and other DC Council members were there “as Washingtonians — we simply all want to be here together in peace to demonstrate that in America — you can peacefully assemble, you can bring grievances to your government, and you can demand change.”
The democrat, who has been the city’s mayor since 2015, also demanded that Trump remove federal soldiers from Washington.
Bowser posted a letter on Twitter she sent to the Trump administration asking for the “extraordinary” federal law enforcement and military presence to be withdrawn from the city.
She cited concerns over the unidentified federal personnel on the streets, claiming they “pose both safety and national security risks” by “inflaming demonstrators” and “adding to the grievances” of mostly peaceful protesters.
The Mayor’s Message to the White House is Loud-and-Clear
The “BLACK LIVES MATTER” mural is comprised of roughly 50-foot-wide yellow letters on a section of 16th Street, expanding the width of the two-lane street.
The work began early Friday morning after Bowser contacted the painters, CNN reported.
The mayor later tweeted out that the street’s section has officially been dubbed the “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
A sign declaring the new name has also been posted in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church just blocks away from the White House.
Bowser has received a wave of approval online, many praising her for the strong symbolism behind the mural.
Bowser has Publicly Clashed with President Trump Following a Week’s Worth of Protests in the Nation’s Capital
Scores of anti-police brutality riots erupted nationwide after harrowing footage emerged of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes.
Chauvin has since been charged with second degree murder on top of a third degree murder charge and manslaughter.
The new plaza sits near the church where protesters were forcibly removed on Monday evening — right before Trump walked through Lafayette Park to pose for a photo-op. Trump drew criticism for holding a bible for photographers in front of St. John’s church during the time of social unrest.
The demonstrations drew “draconian responses from the White House,” according to BBC, including an order from the president to send thousands of federal troops into the city.
Bowser has since repeatedly clashed with the White House, calling the decision to use violence on the protesters “shameful.”
Meanwhile, Trump was seen at a press conference later Friday evening encouraging states to call in the National Guard to help them “dominate the streets” as big cities still face protests.