A group of activists famous for displaying naked, life-size statues of President Trump condemned the separation of migrant children from their parents by vandalizing a massive San Francisco-area billboard.
“We make kids disappear,” read the altered billboard that originally said “We make junk disappear” next to an image of a shocked toddler. At the bottom right corner, where a 1-800 number used to be, was the word “ICE.”
Members of the activist group INDECLINE climbed up to the billboard and painted over the letters and numbers during the predawn hours Thursday. A video that the group later released showed the activists wearing dark, hooded jackets and with their faces covered as they altered the billboard.
INDECLINE said in an email to The Washington Post that the action was in response to President Trump’s immigration policy and “his willingness to inflict immense trauma on young children and their families under his banner of xenophobia.”
In a post on Instagram, the group said the issue is not just about immigration but also about a “humanitarian crisis.”
The billboard, which can be seen from a highway in Emeryville, Calif., just outside of Oakland and across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, is owned by the advertising company Clear Channel. A company spokesman said Friday that the vandalized billboard has been replaced with a new one.
INDECLINE, known for its anti-Trump messages, grabbed headlines in 2016 for unveiling nude and unflattering statues of Trump, then a presidential candidate, in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle.
This new project arrived several months after the group covered stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with the names of African Americans who have been killed by police. In the past, the collective has also claimed responsibility for an anti-Trump “Rape” mural on the U.S.-Mexico border and a massive piece of graffiti art in California’s Mojave Desert, The Washington Post’s Peter Holley reported.
In March, after the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the group vandalized a billboard advertising a deal at a Las Vegas gun range to call attention to gun reform.
“SHOOT A SCHOOL KID ONLY $29,” the billboard read after the original words, “SHOOT A .50-CALIBER ONLY $29,” were altered.
In January, the group said it built a satirical cemetery at a property in Bedminster, N.J., that Trump once slated for his final resting place. The group circulated a video purporting to show installation of satirical gravestones with messages targeting the Trump presidency, The Post’s Justin Wm. Moyer reported.
Among the writings on the gravestones at “Trump Cemetery” were:
“Here lies the American Dream,” dated around the time Trump’s entry ban was implemented.
“Here lies the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau … slowly starved by Mick Mulvaney,” dated around the time Mulvaney took over direction of the agency.
INDECLINE describes itself as an “American Activist Collective” founded in 2001. The group consists of “graffiti writers, filmmakers, photographers and full-time rebels and activists,” according to its website.
At least 2,500 children have been separated from their parents since early May as part of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of prosecuting as many people as possible for crossing to the United States illegally. Faced with a growing backlash, Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order halting the family separations. But the government has done little to help reunite the families, prompting attorneys to frantically find their clients’ children on their own, The Post’s Kevin Sieff reported.