A giant banner featuring Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared mysteriously on the Manhattan Bridge in New York City on Thursday afternoon. Featuring Putin against the backdrop of a Russian flag, the poster had just one word inscribed on it in capital letters: “peacemaker.”
Police officers took down the poster, 20 feet across and 30 feet long, from the bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs shortly after they received reports about it, or just over an hour after it went up. They have started an investigation into the matter, but no arrests have been made so far, the BBC reported.
Quinn Formel, who works in an office building facing the bridge and saw the banner being unfurled, told Mashable: “These two guys ... they were struggling for a little bit, but eventually got it up. We realized it was Putin and it was the Russian flag and it said ‘peacemaker’ and then after that we were all confused about what this is supposed to be saying or expressing — it’s not very clear.”
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have gone up in recent months — a ceasefire brokered by the two countries in Syria broke down mid-September, with both accusing each other of not meeting its terms, and Russia suspended a weapons-grade plutonium disposal deal with the U.S., citing threatening actions, this week.
But Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has often been heard speaking admiringly of Putin, at least until Wednesday when Trump went at least some way in denying their alleged “bromance” by saying while campaigning in Nevada: “I don't love [Putin], I don't hate. We’ll see how it works. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll have a good relationship. Maybe we’ll have a horrible relationship. Maybe we’ll have a relationship right in the middle.”
In fact, Trump’s apparent fondness for Putin has led many people to believe that Russia (and Trump, by association) was behind the hacked and leaked documents ahead of the Democratic National Convention that caused the Democratic Party much embarrassment.
Social media users saw a clear connection between the poster on Manhattan Bridge and Donald Trump.