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June 8, 2020, 8:45 a.m. EDT

Huge Black Lives Matter mural painted near White House

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted aerial video of the mural shortly after it was completed Friday

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By Associated Press


Getty Images
Volunteers, with permission from the city, painted "Black Lives Matter" on the street near the White House.

WASHINGTON (AP) — City workers and activists painted the words Black Lives Matter in enormous bright yellow letters on the street leading to the White House, a highly visible sign of the District of Columbia’s embrace of a protest movement that has put it at odds with President Donald Trump.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted aerial video of the mural shortly after it was completed Friday. The letters and an image of the city’s flag stretch across 16th Street for two blocks, ending just before the church where Trump staged a photo-op after federal officers forcibly cleared a peaceful demonstration to make way for the president and his entourage.

“The section of 16th street in front of the White House is now officially ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza,’” Bowser tweeted. A black and white sign was put up to mark the change.

Bowser’s endorsement of the project follows her verbal clashes with the Trump administration over the response to protests of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Bowser has complained about the heavy-handed federal response and called for the removal of out-of-state National Guard troops. She says their differences highlight the need for D.C. to be a state and have more control over its internal affairs.

Asked about the plaza during an MSNBC interview early Monday , Bowser said: “We saw in Washington, D.C., federal forces used in a political stunt to attack peaceful protest.”

See: U.S. Park Police more typically facilitate — rather than break up — protests and marches in Washington, D.C.

Plus: Attorney General Barr is seeking to rewrite the narrative surrounding Trump’s controversial photo-op

Elsewhere, she added, “We saw the American military moved around our country like toy soldiers. ... The finest military in the world should never be used in that way.”

Last Thursday, as the protests turned peaceful, she had lifted a curfew imposed after people damaged buildings and broke into businesses over the previous weekend and into Monday.

The mayor tweeted out a letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who wrote the president to express alarm that peaceful protesters were being confronted by heavily armed federal agents and officers, many of them with their identities and agencies obscured.

See: ACLU suit claims demonstrators’ civil rights were violated when park was forcibly cleared for Trump photo-op at church

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