Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington DC, instructed city employees to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ in giant yellow letters on a street just north of the White House ahead of a huge protest scheduled for Saturday.
Beginning at 3 a.m. this morning, muralists and crews of workers from the city’s department of transportation and department of public works began painting 35-foot letters on 16th street, a spokesperson from mayor Muriel Bowser’s office told Motherboard.
After 7 hours of painting, the project was nearly complete.
The action is the latest in a tense relationship between DC's city government and the federal government. In recent days, the National Guard and police from neighboring cities have been deployed within DC to tamp down protests, often against the will of Bowser's government. The National Guard threw tear gas at protesters and violently moved them earlier this week ahead of a planned photo op for President Trump. Protests in DC outside of the White House have been so powerful that Trump retreated to a bunker in the White House and had the lights turned off.
But not everyone is pleased with the project, which has already sparked criticism from the DC chapter of Black Lives Matter.
“This is performative and a distraction from her active counter organizing to our demands to decrease the police budget and invest in the community,” BlackLivesMatter DC tweeted on Friday morning. “Black Lives Matter means Defund the police.”