New York City started painting a Black Lives Matter mural Thursday on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower.
Local television network WPIX reported the block of the street would be closed to cars until Sunday.
Mayor Bill De Blasio took part in the painting, posting a photo on Twitter of himself surrounded by people painting the yellow letters on the street.
"Our city isn’t just painting the words on Fifth Avenue. We’re committed to the meaning of the message," he wrote on Twitter, referencing criticism from activists who have called the creation of similar murals a "performative" distraction from substantive policy changes like cuts to police budgets or reforms to use-of-force policies.
The planned mural had provoked the ire of President Donald Trump, who slammed the mural on Twitter earlier this month as "denigrating" the street, antagonizing the city's police, and creating a "symbol of hate" on "New York's finest street."
— Anthony DiLorenzo (@ADiLorenzoTV) July 9, 2020
NYC is cutting Police $’s by ONE BILLION DOLLARS, and yet the @NYCMayor is going to paint a big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue. This will further antagonize New York’s Finest, who LOVE New York & vividly remember the....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
De Blasio responded to Trump's posts, saying "Black people BUILT 5th Ave and so much of this nation. ... We are honoring them."
Here’s what you don’t understand:
Black people BUILT 5th Ave and so much of this nation.
Your “luxury” came from THEIR labor, for which they have never been justly compensated.
We are honoring them. The fact that you see it as denigrating your street is the definition of racism.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 1, 2020
Several cities across the country have painted murals in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, including Washington, D.C. which painted "Black Lives Matter" in 50-foot yellow letters near the White House to honor the protesters. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also renamed the location of the mural as "Black Lives Matter Plaza."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NYC paints Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower