Bowser addresses record crowd at Black Lives Matter Plaza
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) joined tens of thousands of protesters downtown Saturday as people around the country came out en masse to protest the police killing of George Floyd and demand systemic change.
“It’s so wonderful to see everyone peacefully protesting, wearing their masks,” Bowser told a large crowd at Black Lives Matter Plaza — the area of 16th Street NW that Bowser renamed Friday. Bowser also had local artists paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street in giant yellow letters. The area has become a de facto base of operations for the continuing protests.
In a remarkable scene @MayorBowser is called onstage by a DJ entertaining #JusticeForGeogeFloyd demontrators in the middle of 16th Street. The Mayor climbed onto the risers with the help of her security and addressed a crowd of thousands. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/pOwkKfDJU6
— Eric Flack (@EricFlackTV) June 6, 2020
Bowser criticized the mobilization of federal troops to the city, which President Trump ordered Monday after protests escalated nationwide over the weekend, saying it was something she never wanted to see in the U.S.
“Our soldiers should not be treated this way. They should not be asked to move on American citizens,” she said.
On Friday, she penned a letter to Trump requesting that he immediately “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” from the city.
She explained that the curfew that had been in place for several days earlier in the week was being lifted and noted that not a single arrest had been made Thursday night related to the protests.
The mayor and the president have butted heads repeatedly, with Trump criticizing Bowser’s handling of the demonstrations in the District. In response to her letter, Trump in a tweet called Bowser “incompetent” and asserted that her budget for the city was “totally out of control.” He also claimed that his deployment of the National Guard “saved her from great embarrassment” this week.
Bowser told the crowd that they had to be “loud” in demanding “more justice and more peace.”
“I have a 2-year-old girl. I want her to grow up in a country where she’s not scared to go to the grocery store, not scared to go to work,” Bowser, who is African American, explained.
Bowser ended her remarks to the crowd with a call to action: “Today, we say no. In November, we say next.”
Protests in the District began in the morning and are scheduled to continue into the evening. Much of downtown has been closed to traffic, as District police anticipated record crowds.
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