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Here’s What Happened to the “Khashoggi Way” Sign

Surprisingly, the sign lasted for a full 24 hours outside the Saudi Embassy
The 'Khashoggi Way' sign outside of the Saudi Arabian Embassy on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Claude Taylor.

At 11 AM Wednesday, Claude Taylor was frankly shocked to see that his Khashoggi Way sign had lasted nearly twenty-hours outside of the Saudi Arabian Embassy on New Hampshire Avenue, Northwest. Taylor’s group Mad Dog PAC, a crowd sourced organization that, in Taylor’s words, does “anti-Trump stuff,” installed the sign at around 11 AM yesterday to honor the late Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was gruesomely murdered in Turkey this October after entering the Saudi consulate there. A CIA assessment alleges that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder, the Washington Post first reported. The Trump administration has sanctioned 17 people involved in the killing, but is standing by Saudi Arabia’s side.

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission that covers the Foggy Bottom area, ANC 2A, voted last week to approve changing that stretch of New Hampshire Avenue to “Khashoggi Way,” the Post and DCist reported. However, a spokesperson for Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told WTOP that the street could not be renamed because DC law requires a person to be deceased for two years before a street it can rename a street in their honor.

After about five minutes, Taylor says, a city truck pulled up at the end of the block. “I was like ‘ah-ha,’” he says. “I was fine, they were  here to remove the sign, that was cool. I mean, I didn’t expect it to make it two hours, let alone 24.”  Taylor says city employees told him they came to protect and recover city assets, knocked over the sign, and began disassembling it. “It dawned on me that he didn’t realize that the sign was not an authentic city street sign,” he says.

Taylor showed the employees the receipts for the sign and asked to keep his property, which they didn’t object to. “They were just completely cool, doing their job,” he says, although they asked him to take the 150 pound base to the sign.

Which city agency were they from? We’re not sure yet. Taylor believed that they came from the Department of Public Works, but DPW spokesperson Jonathan Kuhl tells Washingtonian it didn’t remove the sign. DDOT’s public information officer and Mayor Bowser’s press secretary have not yet returned requests for comment.

Don’t expect this to be the last of the Khashoggi Way signs. “We’re going to be placing them all over town,” Taylor says, adding that the point was to bring “some continued light and attention and focus to this issue to make sure people understand that the US government, Donald Trump, the Secretary of State have played a role and are thus complicit in the coverup of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.”

Efforts to contact the Saudi Embassy didn’t pan out–it was closed Wednesday, December 5, likely to respect the national day of mourning for the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush.

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Adia H. Robinson
Editorial Fellow