From DCIST, Dec.4, 2018
While the D.C. Council will not take up legislation next session to ceremonially name the block of the Saudi Arabian embassy for murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, some D.C. citizens have taken the matter into their own hands. As of Tuesday morning, a group of Washingtonians have added a green “Khashoggi Way” street sign on New Hampshire Avenue NW in front of the embassy.
“I just assumed that it will take some period of time for the processes of local government to work their magic,” says Claude Taylor, chair of Mad Dog PAC, an anti-Trump political action committee, and photographer. He hasn’t spoken to any D.C. officials about the sign. “I thought I would save them the effort and just put the sign up.”
The local Advisory Neighborhood Commission representing Foggy Bottom and West End voted unanimously last week to create a symbolic designation for Khashoggi, who U.S. intelligence concluded was assassinated at the orders of the Saudi crown prince. However, D.C. Code dictates that no public space can be named after anyone who is alive or has been dead less than two years, and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he would not make an exception for Khashoggi, who was murdered in October. (The council has made exceptions under other chairmen, but a representative for Mendelson said that he “adheres to that law strictly.”)
Taylor spoke to DCist from the Mad Dog PAC pick-up truck, which was parked in front of the embassy and had a 12-foot inflatable rat made to mimic President Donald Trump. The rat is about a month old, and has been part of protests outside the White House, Capitol Hill, the Trump International Hotel, and other places. When Taylor drives away this afternoon with the rat in tow, the sign will remain.
“We are just trying to make a public statement that we feel the citizens of D.C. would want: that we need to get a Khashoggi Way street renamed officially,” Taylor says. “Until that happens, Mad Dog PAC is happy to provide some temporary signage.” Mad Dog PAC has put up billboards with anti-Trump messaging throughout the country, including a call for impeachment near the president’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.
Taylor says Mad Dog PAC purchased a dozen of these “Khashoggi Way” signs for $280 total (there are additional costs to put up the signs with poles and cement blocks). He plans to put up the other 11 signs throughout D.C. “I would expect you might see some by the Old Post Office,” where the Trump International Hotel resides, because he says that “it’s definitely a fair call to associate this crime with Donald Trump.” Trump released a statement last month that said, despite the evidence against Saudi Arabia, the U.S. “intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia.”
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the crown prince are responsible for this heinous crime,” says Taylor. “We are doing our small part with this action to make sure people don’t forget it, especially here in D.C.”
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