On Saturday, as thousands gathered in the nation’s capital, protesters painted “defund the police” in large yellow letters Saturday on 16th Street NW in Washington, two blocks north of the White House. The letters are painted in a similar font and color as the “Black Lives Matter” mural unveiled earlier this week on the same street.
On Sunday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declined to say whether those words would be removed from the mural, which was painted Friday on a stretch of 16th Street NW in front of the White House.
Bowser said on ABC’s “This Week” that she was proud of the mural: “It is an affirmative piece of art, a centering piece of art where people from around the globe have called us and thanked us for acknowledging black humanity and black lives in the most important city in the world.”
Co-anchor Martha Raddatz asked, “But will you take out the part that says defund police?”
“Well, it’s not a part of the mural, and we certainly encourage expression, but we are using the city streets for city art,” Bowser said….“I actually haven’t even had an opportunity to review it, …but we — the response that we’ve gotten from people about the black lives matter … mural has just been incredible.”
The Black Lives Matter D.C. chapter called the gestures “performative,” accusing Bowser of trying to distract from “her active counter-organizing to our demands,” which include reducing the city’s police budget and reinvesting the funds elsewhere.
On Saturday, negative comments were spray-painted on or near it, such as “This ‘Mural’ Ain’t Doing Shit.”