Despite calls from the New York City mayor to suspend protests until after the funerals of the two cops that were murdered on Saturday in Brooklyn, more than a thousand activists flowed through the streets of midtown Manhattan last night in defiance of the mayor’s wishes.
Two nights before Christmas, the march began at 5th and 59th Street and headed south to 53rd Street before turning north. Marchers told the New York Post that they would end with a protest at a precinct in East Harlem.
“The mayor says stop that, we say [expletive] that!” the Post said the activists chanted, while jumping in place.
Protesters carried banners such as one that read “Stop Racist Police Terror.”
“We’re protesting tonight, because the mayor specifically said not to,” said 25-year-old Tarik Grand of Brooklyn. “They asked for a moment of silence for the cops, but not for [Eric] Garner.”
In Cleveland, Samaria Rice, the mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, was expected to call for more peaceful demonstrations when she spoke yesterday at the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Cleveland, according to the Guardian.
Rev. Al Sharpton, who has planned prayer vigils at the scene of Garner’s death and at other sites in the city, found de Blasio’s request too “ill-defined” to make a pause in action necessary.
“Is a vigil a protest? Is a rally?” Sharpton asked.
The Answer Coalition, which found New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s request to be “outrageous,” had no interest in stopping a march scheduled for yesterday evening.
“Peaceful protests against police violence” would continue as planned, the nonprofit organization told Reuters.
“Organizations planning events or gatherings about politics or protests,that could be for another day,” the mayor said Monday. “Let’s see them through the funerals, then debate can begin again. But until that time, it is out obligation to respect [the families].”
“We will not let recent tragic moments derail this movement,” one protester shouted at a “die in” at a spontaneous demonstration at the Grand Central Terminal in response to de Blasio’s remarks, according to the New York Post. “This is the revolution and we will not be repressed.”
New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, speaking Tuesday in Rhode Island, said it was “unfortunate” that some protests continued despite the mayor’s plea, according to Fox News.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, has said de Blasio had “blood on his hands” for being lenient with the protesters.
On Saturday night at the hospital where officers Liu and Ramos died, dozens of police officers turned their backs to the mayor, according to FOX News.
At last night’s Manhattan march, some of the protesters joined in inflammatory chants directed at police officers. “How do you spell murderers? N-Y-P-D!” said one of the chants.
“NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today?” was another.
“Personally, I feel it was horrible what happened to the police officers,” Rutgers University student Frangy Pozo told the Post. “We’re not saying we’re against them. [But] just because they died shouldn’t slow us down.”