Protesters in Washington Square Park Stand Up to Trump Administration
Protesters gathered in Washington Square Park last Saturday to speak out against local and federal government policies.
The protest came days after 41 undocumented immigrants were rounded up and deported by ICE officials.
ICE Free NYC was the leading organization behind this rally, although numerous other organizations and individuals joined them in protesting various immigration policies in New York City, namely, the broken windows policy.
In speaking to the crowd, Karina Garcia of the Answer Coalition explained that New York City cannot possibly be considered a sanctuary city while the broken windows policy remains in place. Garcia continued on to say that a true people’s victory would come only with a judge’s ruling to do away with the policy.
Another speaker, Dennis Flores, member of El Grito de Sunset Park echoed the sentiments of Garcia. He took the argument further by saying that anyone who was victimized by the police and the broken windows policy were also victims of the current administration. In his speech, Flores also said that New York City is not a sanctuary city.
One protester, Ben Beeker with the Answer Coalition agreed strongly with this statement. When asked if he agreed that New York City is not a sanctuary city, he said: “It’s not even a question of opinion anymore because we know that people are being turned over to ICE for the most minimal crimes, the New York City government is doing it voluntarily.”
Although all who spoke at the rally remained true to the topic of broken windows, citizens attended the protest for various reasons. Participants carried signs bringing attention to many different issues including immigration, women’s rights and racism. The common denominator connecting all of them was dissatisfaction with both local and federal administrations.
Another protester, Nicolas Borel, said: “This is one of hundreds of issues right now, and I think we have to stand for basically each and every one of them and cede no ground. Because once we start ceding ground it starts slipping and it’s a very slippery slope.”
Although many different policies were the target of protesters, the end goal was the same: a change in policy.
For some, like Beeker and Borel, this policy shift would be done by their representatives in government, namely in the repeal of unjust laws such as the broken windows policy. Like many in attendance, they hoped that this rally would force their representatives to listen to their constituents and act accordingly.
One such action protesters in attendance were looking for was major reform in immigration policy, starting with a repeal of the broken windows policy. As Garcia said in speaking to the crowd: “We are not fighting to return to the status quo.”
However, many have lost hope in politics in general and were calling for more drastic changes in policy. For many in attendance, this change was the removal of President Trump.
One protester with Refuse Fascism said: “What we’re working to do is to oust the regime.” She went on to explain that the organization is seeking to create a political crisis in which the Trump Pence administration is illegitimized.