Demonstrators in Washington, D.C. protesting the police killing of George Floyd have converted a newly-erected security fence surrounding the White House into a memorial wall for victims of police brutality. As people took to the streets of the nation’s capital on Sunday for the tenth straight day of protests, the fence around Lafayette Square, meant to push them away, was adorned with protests signs reading "Black Lives Matter," "No justice, no peace," "Say their names," and dozens of other sayings, as well as the names of those who been killed by police violence, including Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
The fence outside the White House has been converted to a crowd-sourced memorial wall — almost like an art gallery — to black men and women who lost their lives at the hands of police.
Hundreds are strolling, looking, adding names and paintings and posters. pic.twitter.com/mXlZpfMAeX— Hannah Natanson (@hannah_natanson) June 7, 2020
Video shared by Washington Post reporter Hannah Natanson on Sunday showed other protesters taking photos of the fence and adding their own signs to the "crowd-sourced" memorial wall, the fence nearly entirely covered. Many of those signs honored Floyd, including some reading "I can't breathe," the words uttered by Floyd in the video of his death that sparked outrage and protests that have since taken place globally. Other signs encouraged protesters to head to the polls in November, one reading, "Today we protest, November we vote."
Amid the ongoing protests, Lafayette Square has served as a flashpoint. Peaceful protesters who gathered in the square, located in front of the White House, on June 1 were tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets by authorities so President Donald Trump could walk to St. John's Episcopal Church for a controversial photo op. The following day, the fence barrier was erected. According to the Washington Post, the barrier stretches 1.7 miles and is eight feet tall. The Secret Service told CNN that the fencing will remain up until Wednesday. It is unclear if the signs now posted to the fence will remain up that long as well.
The makeshift memorial wall marks just the latest symbol to appear amid the protests in the capital. On Friday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser officially renamed the stretch of 16th Street NW that leads to Lafayette Square as "Black Lives Matter Plaza." The words "Black Lives Matter" were painted onto the street. NPR reports that officials have since installed a new street sign above the intersection showing the new name.