The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Police to close downtown streets Saturday for protest; mayor renames street outside White House ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’

Thunderstorms couldn’t keep protesters in downtown Washington, D.C., from protesting on June 4. (Video: The Washington Post)
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Protests over police violence took place in Washington on Thursday for the seventh consecutive day. The demonstrations have evolved drastically since Monday, when a peaceful assembly was disrupted by an aggressive law enforcement offensive and more than 200 arrests were made, many for looting. By Thursday, the streets surrounding the White House had become an orderly ecosystem with a predictable routine and a block party atmosphere — until a thunderstorm moved in.

Here are some significant developments:

• D.C. police will prohibit vehicle traffic in much of downtown Washington on Saturday, starting at 6 a.m., in preparation for thousands of protesters expected to descend on the area. The closure is roughly between L Street NW to Independence Avenue SW. The west boundary is roughly along 19th Street NW, while the eastern boundary is roughly 9th Street NW downtown and Third Street NW along the Mall.

• D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Friday formally renamed a street outside the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” after ordering city crews to paint the message in gigantic yellow letters down 16th Street. It’s a pointed message in support of demonstrators and against the president, who ordered an escalation of federal military and law enforcement presence on the streets of Washington in response to sporadic looting and unrest earlier in the week.

• Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) formally asked President Trump in a letter to “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.” The Trump administration this week deployed military police and federal law enforcement to respond to demonstrations, drawing widespread criticism from activists and local officials that the tactics were making the situation worse.