New York paints Black Lives Matter sign outside Trump Tower

President Trump previously accused city's leaders of 'denigrating' Fifth Avenue with 'symbol of hate'

New York City on Thursday painted a huge Black Lives Matter sign on the pavement outside Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, adding to murals in other cities supporting the movement.

US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticised the Black Lives Matter movement, did not immediately comment on the sign, done in giant, bright yellow block letters that filled the pavement outside his flagship hotel.

But when the plan for the sign was brought up last month Mr Trump accused the city's Democratic leaders of "denigrating" the famous street with a "symbol of hate".

About a dozen volunteers from different organisations painted the sign, with civil rights leader Rev Al Sharpton and Mayor Bill de Blasio picking up long-handled paint rollers to add some touches of their own.

"A painting is a nice symbol but it doesn't address systemic racism in any way," said Francie Brewster, 17, who watched the work take shape.

"So as cool as it is, it's important to focus on that."

The BLM movement has been at the forefront of public awareness after weeks of anti-racism protests.

The demonstrations were sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis in May.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed an area on her city's 16th Street, a block from the White House, Black Lives Matter Plaza, unveiling another giant yellow mural.

The area has become the centre of anti-racist demonstrations.

Trump Tower, a luxury high-rise near Central Park, is where the president lived before leaving for the White House in January 2017.

Mr Trump stays there when in his home town, although visits are now relatively rare.

Residents in overwhelmingly Democratic New York remain largely hostile to his presidency.

Mr Trump has often clashed with Mr de Blasio, a Democrat, and with New York's Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

The president changed his official residence to Florida last year but his business empire still has its headquarters in the Big Apple.

Published: July 10, 2020 04:46 AM

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