Hundreds of protesters spilled onto Greenwich Village streets, blocking traffic and sidewalks where pedestrians and drivers waved in support, as demonstrators decried the arrests of hundreds of undocumented immigrants this past week.
Demonstrators Saturday afternoon held signs that read “No Human is Illegal,” “No Ban. No registry” and “ICE Free New York City.” ICE is Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency that led the immigration raids across six states, including New York.
More than 500 protesters peacefully rallied inside Washington Square Park, taking special aim at the NYPD’s “broken windows” policy that targets low-level crimes such as selling food on street corners without permits.
“People are being deported for jumping turnstiles to women selling churros to men on bikes who are delivering food,” said Jasmar Trujillo, 38, of the Coalition to End Broken Windows. “Broken windows puts our most vulnerable at risk,” he shouted.
Demonstrators responded with chants of “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA” to the beat of drums and cheers.
Jamie Heinz, 72, of Manhattan, who has attended a dozen marches and rallies since the election of President Donald Trump, said she is inspired by the public protests.
“There is major hope with all these people resisting. We cannot give up,” said Heinz, who participated in the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins to protest Jim Crow segregation as part of the civil rights movement.
“People are pressing his [Trump’s] thin skin,” Heinz said of the daily marches and rallies. “As long as we resist there is hope.”
Protesters marched to the NYPD’s 6th Precinct, where demonstrators blocked the main entrance and caused more than a dozen officers to file onto the street with plastic handcuffs. A loud speaker recording warned demonstrators to disperse or face arrest for disorderly conduct. No one was arrested.
Manhattan protester Elliot Crown, 45, a puppeteer and artist who donned a paper mask of Trump with a fake plastic crown, said: “We all have to stand up and restore democracy and strengthen our Constitution. We have never faced these challenges. It is time for all good people to stand up.”
Amid the rally, Colin Huggins, 39, of Manhattan played his piano under the Washington Square Park arch with a sign that read “This Machine Kills Fascists.”
“I have a rebel streak like Chopin and Beethoven, who fought their political oppressors through their music too,” said Huggins, who played an excerpt from a Chopin concerto in support of the French Revolution.