How did City Hall Park in Manhattan transform into a scrappy encampment of activists and homeless people now renamed Abolition Park?
New York City’s informal protest occupation began with the purpose of slashing the police budget. Abolition Park members watched the live stream of New York City Council’s budget vote outdoors near the City Hall complex in Manhattan.
The collective sought for at least one billion dollars from the New York Police Department’s budget be reallocated for spending on social programs. A candidate for Brooklyn’s 37th district stated that the collective, now known as Abolition Park, felt their demands were not met. She cited the one billion dollars in question was placed in coffers to fund security officers in New York City’s Public schools.
In this way, Abolition Park, created as an ad hoc movement to agitate for the severe limiting of the NYPD, is different than Seattle’s CHAZ/CHOP. The latter considered itself a new long-term community but ended earlier this month.
Police and radical criminal reforms are stated as demands by members of Abolition Park. They apparently state these as demands and not as goals and refuse to leave until they are met.
Online independent press contained a photograph of a chalkboard manifesto. Included are the general expressions of the most vocal protesters nationwide this summer. More than one item on the list calls for the amputation or overhaul of major American institutions.
Increasing harassment of those walking by and of media has caused concern by nearby people and groups. This includes even nearby establishment media generally sympathetic to their radical aims. The violence includes a New York Post photographer having his camera smacked out of his hands.
More threatening was a nearby resident’s call to police regarding his complex, the lone residential structure in proximity, an alleged attempted break-in. Additionally, the resident claimed there were threats from the more violent group members to burn the building down. The resident further claims the police stated they were ordered, by Mayor de Blasio, to not interfere with crimes in that area.
Speaking generally about Abolition Park, a mayor’s spokesperson said they are coordinating with city outreach teams and are assisting where needed. She stated a commitment to the right to peacefully protest. As well, she indicated only twelve “311” (NYC non-emergency phone calls) calls had been placed regarding Abolition Park.
Presently, a majority of Park members left after their semi-victory of one billion dollars being reconsidered. But the group, according to a media representative and another spokesperson, says they are staying put, consolidating and re-configuring their organizational aims and even physically rearranging the settlement.
A striking similarity with the Chaz/Chop movement of Seattle is the rapid agglomeration of nearby homeless persons to the settlement. As needs and expectations have grown because of this, the litter and general shanty-town atmosphere is becoming an annoyance in addition to genuine safety concerns including the spread of the coronavirus.
Additionally, locals are being harassed, subways entrances/exits are barricaded, traffic is blocked, and businesses burdened. How long will Mayor de Blasio allow lawlessness continue to rule his city?
Listen to this episode of the Conservative Business Journal Podcast, where John Di Lemme interviews former NYPD Commissioner Bernard “Bernie” Kerik about how police are being endangered by the actions (and lack of action) of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio…