Protesters gathered on the steps of New York City Hall on Oct. 20 to demand a permit for a protest against police brutality planned for Oct. 22. Protesters are expected to march from Union Square to Times Square.
Approximately 20 people stood in front of City Hall behind a large banner that read “Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide: Act to Stop It Now.” According to a press release from the organizers, the annual march, which started in 1996, has never been prohibited. For the first time, the protesters were not granted a permit from the New York City Police Department to march this year.
Carl Dix, the national spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Party, was in attendance and began the protest by announcing that he delivered the group’s list of demands to the mayor in person.
“The message that we were going to deliver to [Mayor] Bill de Blasio today has actually already been delivered to him,” Dix said. “I put it into his hand since he was out here in the good weather, I guess, doing an outdoor meeting, and his response was ‘I’ll go to work on this right away.’”
Juanita Young, whose son Malcolm Ferguson was shot and killed by police in the Bronx in 2000, spoke out about being the mother of someone killed by police brutality.
“We did not ask to be in this position,” Young said. “We’re tired of hearing other mothers having to go through what we have gone through. We are going to do what we need to do to get the attention that our loved ones deserve.”
The press release also stated that the group was protesting the abuse of 120 juveniles at New York’s Rikers Island prison. Cecily McMillan, the famous Occupy Wall Street activist who spent three months on Rikers Island, said protesters do not feel that they have another outlet to express their concerns.
“Who do these people work for?” McMillan said as she pointed to City Hall. “Times Square? For Wall Street? Who do they work for? Fighting for your right to have a voice has become such a hardship. People are saying the only way you can have a voice is in the streets, so that’s where we’ll do it.”
Brian Jones, lieutenant governor candidate for the Green Party, was also in attendance and compared the pandemic of police brutality to the Ebola virus.
“This is a pandemic worse than Ebola,” Jones said. “Like the Ebola crisis, the structures that are supposed to be in place to protect people are incapable of doing anything about the crisis.Here, the district attorneys work so closely with the police that they are incapable of prosecuting them.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 21 print edition. Email Alanna Bayarin at [email protected]