New York City on Thursday painted a huge Black Lives Matter sign on the pavement outside Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, replicating similar murals supporting the movement elsewhere in the United States.
President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly assailed the Black Lives Matter movement, did not immediately comment on the sign, done in giant block lettering in school-bus yellow, which filled the pavement outside his flagship hotel.
But when the plan was floated last month he accused the city’s Democratic leaders of “denigrating” the famous street with a “symbol of hate.”
Around a dozen volunteers from different organizations painted the slogan, with civil rights leader Al Sharpton and Mayor Bill de Blasio picking up long-handled paint rollers to add some touches of their own.
“A painting is a nice symbol, but it doesn’t address systemic racism in any way. So as cool as it is, it’s important to focus on that,” said Francie Brewster, a 17-year-old who had come to watch.
Similar murals have been painted in other American cities in support of the BLM movement, which has been at the forefront of public consciousness following weeks of anti-racism protests.
The demonstrations were sparked by the killing by police of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis in May.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed an area on her city’s 16th Street, a block from the White House, as Black Lives Matter Plaza, unveiling a giant yellow mural on that street. The area has become the epicenter of anti-racist demonstrations.
Trump Tower, a luxury skyscraper near Central Park, is where Trump lived before leaving for the White House in January 2017.
He stays there when he visits his hometown, although such visits have grown relatively rare. Residents in overwhelmingly Democratic New York remain largely hostile to his presidency.
Trump has frequently clashed with De Blasio, a Democrat, as well as with New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.
The president changed his official residence to Florida last year, but his business empire remains headquartered in the Big Apple.