DC mayor criticizes fencing around White House: ‘That’s the people’s house’

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Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Thursday criticized the placement of additional barriers outside the White House amid ongoing protests in the city against police brutality and racial inequality.

“Keep in mind that that’s the people’s house,” Bowser said during a press conference after workers were seen erecting additional fencing and barriers on the grounds surrounding the White House. 

Officials placed concrete barriers along Pennsylvania Avenue NW near the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and erected tall fencing along 17th Street NW early Thursday morning. The moves came after law enforcement placed additional fencing on Pennsylvania Avenue NW and parts of H and 16th streets NW as part of its efforts to block pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the area. 

While protests have remained largely peaceful the past couple days, police and military personnel, at least some of whom were not wearing identifiers, have been positioned around the White House to keep demonstrators at a greater distance. 

On Monday, law enforcement dispersed protesters peacefully demonstrating in Lafayette Square before President Trump visited a historic church in the area for a photo-op. 

Bowser said that she was concerned some of the added security measures at the White House would be permanent and noted the local government would push back against any such plan. 

“It’s a sad commentary that the house and its inhabitants have to be walled off,” she said. “I think that’s a sad commentary. We should want the White House opened up for people to be able to access it from all sides.”

She stressed that people need access to the capital’s public buildings. 

Unrest swelled in cities across the nation following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd said, “I can’t breathe.” 

Protests in Washington, D.C., over the weekend led to the destruction of public and private property, as well as fires being set ablaze near the White House. Trump responded by threatening to activate the military in cities where the unrest does not dissipate and started with D.C.

The District was under curfews on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Bowser announced there would be no mandatory curfew Thursday night. 

Tags Donald Trump George Floyd Muriel Bowser Protests Washington D.C. White House

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