Washington, Jun 5 (efe-epa).- The Washington DC mayor has changed the name of a street in front of the White House to “Black Lives Matter Plaza” in support of the protests against alleged police brutalities targeting the black community in the country.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, announced the significant by largely symbolic move on Friday as she also unveiled a mural painted with the slogan on the asphalt in massive yellow letters onto the street that leads up to the White House.
“I want to welcome all peaceful protesters to Washington, D.C. I’m joined by members of the City Council. We want to call attention today to make sure our nation is more fair and more just and that Black lives and Black humanity matter in our nation,” Bowser said during the inauguration ceremony.
The mayor had been opposing President Donald Trump’s escalation of federal law enforcement deployment to quell protests and unrest in the capital, triggered by the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Trump earlier this week urged a crackdown against demonstrators to bring order to the national capital and other cities after widespread protests.
He then moved in federal police and National Guard units to Washington in a move that drew widespread criticism from activists and local officials that amid vehement opposition by Bowser.
“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,” Bowser said, as she renamed the square in front of St John’s Church.
It is precisely on this street where the security forces last Monday sprayed pepper and forcibly evicted hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting peacefully in front of the White House.
President Donald Trump then walked onto the street and pose before the photographers with a bible in his hand outside the nearby church, which was partially damaged during a protest march the night before.
However, Mayor Bowser’s gesture to honor the protesters has not appealed to everyone, as the association “Black Lives Matter DC” reproached her for causing “a distraction from the real political changes” they demand.
“This is a performative distraction from real policy changes. Bowser has consistently been on the wrong side of BLMDC history. This is to appease white liberals while ignoring our demands. Black Lives Matter means defund the police,” the group tweeted.
Washington and other main cities in the US have witnessed massive protests for over a week now in response to the death of Floyd allegedly due to brutality at the hands of police officers on May 25.
The protests are scheduled to continue this weekend, including one on Saturday that is expected to draw a large crowd. EFE-EPA