The massive BLACK LIVES MATTER street art purposefully painted by New York City authorities on 5th Avenue outside President Donald Trump’s flagship property was defaced with red paint, after a weekend of clashing protests.
Video shared on Monday afternoon showed a splotch of red smeared over several giant yellow letters in the word ‘LIVES,’ smeared further by passing cars until the New York Police Department shut the street down.
#BLM Mural Vandalized With Red Paint Outside of Trump Tower pic.twitter.com/uLhUb31ZUK
Police said an unidentified man walked up to Trump Tower shortly after noon, dumped a can of red paint onto the pavement, and fled down 56th Street. The assailant wore a black shirt and a black hat. The can was recovered by police.
“I wish I’d tackled him, but I’m old and fat so I didn’t,” Paul Rossen, a vendor selling anti-Trump merchandise nearby, told the New York Post.
“I knew it was going to happen – there’s all this racist s–t going on,” the Post quoted construction worker Billy McCabe. “The mural shouldn’t have been done right in front of Trump Tower.”
The Black Lives Matter “street mural” in NYC has been vandalized by red paint. Oh no, call the police…. pic.twitter.com/mxILkIEfGS
Mayor Bill De Blasio, a Democrat, picked the spot personally last month, intending to send a message to the president. He initially sought to placate protesters calling for his resignation by promising to paint a street in every one of New York City’s five boroughs with the slogan in recognition of the movement’s “fundamental power.” The Manhattan one was supposed to be near the City Hall, but De Blasio later decided otherwise.
The mayor personally took part in painting the letters last week, alongside his wife and New York’s ‘race equity’ czar Chirlane McCray and MSNBC contributor Rev. Al Sharpton.
The mural quickly drew protesters and counter-protesters, though. On Saturday, dozens of people flying the ‘Thin Blue Line’ flags in support of police and chanting ‘All Lives Matter’ almost got into a brawl with Black Lives Matter demonstrators. Rude gestures were shown on both sides, and chants of “Black Lives Matter” were countered with “USA, USA” and “Commie scum,” according to local media.
Since Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser first painted a street with the slogan in early June, Democrat-run cities across the US have followed suit. In some places, local residents tried to alter or paint over the murals.
In Florissant, Missouri they painted the words over with a blue line, in support of police, while in Chicago’s Oak Park neighborhood the word “Black” was converted to “All,” before the city changed it back. A Contra Costa, California couple faces hate crimes charges for trying to paint over the slogan outside the courthouse.
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