Home / #BlackLivesMatter / Thousands Show Up To Protest Trump Appearance In Manhattan, Lead To Violent Clashes With NYPD And Trump Supporters
Mass demonstrations by diverse groups joined forces against Donald Trump Thursday evening in Manhattan (Rebecca Lawrence)
Mass demonstrations by diverse groups joined forces against Donald Trump Thursday evening in Manhattan (Rebecca Lawrence)

Thousands Show Up To Protest Trump Appearance In Manhattan, Lead To Violent Clashes With NYPD And Trump Supporters

Midtown Manhattan became a heated battlefield Thursday evening as thousands of protestors convened around Grand Central Station to protest a GOP fundraising gala at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where all three remaining Republican presidential nominee hopefuls were in attendance.  The NYPD was out in full force, prepared with riot gear, AR-15s, and LRAD sound cannons. Over two dozen protestors were arrested.

Around 5:30 crowds could no longer be held in the free speech pen and spilled over onto the sidewalk on the south side of 42nd St. (Rebecca Lawrence)
Around 5:30 crowds could no longer be held in the free speech pen and spilled over onto the sidewalk on the south side of 42nd St. (Rebecca Lawrence)

Demonstrators championing a myriad of political and social causes began to gather on 42nd Street around 5 PM Thursday.  As the crowd corralled inside of the NYPD’s protest pen began to swell, police officers struggled to keep the sidewalks and roads clear of pedestrians.

Anyone who was not keeping pedestrian traffic moving, anyone who stopped to watch or film the protestors was shouted down by officers and pushed to the side if they were on the sidewalk or crosswalks. The first accounts of violence and arrests began as early as 5:30 PM. NYPD officers separated groups of protestors from each other with police barricades.

Anger at Republican frontrunner Donald Trump was the common ground between groups as diverse as Fight For $15, Justice For Akai Gurley, ICE Free NYC, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, Banyan USA, Muslim Democratic Club of New York, Black Lives Matter, Shut It Down, Make The Road, Hate Free NYC, Peoples Power Assembly and Show Up For Racial Justice.

Military LRAD sound cannons were on site before the demonstrations began (Rebecca Lawrence)
Military LRAD sound cannons were on site before the demonstrations began (Rebecca Lawrence)

Fed up with comments Trump has made about immigrants, Muslims, Latin Americans, African Americans, women, the LGBT community and other disempowered groups, these coalitions came together with the unifying message echoing from the streets of NYC to the Twitterverse.

The signs of the protestors were loaded with hashtags encouraging the GOP to #DumpTrump and #StopRacism.

A Facebook event for the protest hosted by Come Together Against Hate and Jews Against Trump issued a strong rejection of Trump’s bullying of minorities in their public statement:

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 5.05.32 PM
Eventually the groups split in different directions.  Around 8 PM one group marched up Fifth Avenue to Rockefeller Center while another flooded Grand Central Terminal with black and red anarchist flags chanting “Stand up, fight back” and “Nazi scum, off our streets.” The police did their best to follow and control the areas where they marched, but they were not always fast enough to keep up.

The group leaving Grand Central Terminal eventually reached the Grand Hyatt and encountered Trump supporters, reportedly leading to violent clashes and more arrests.

A small number of protestors (reports indicate ten people) made it inside of the hotel before the gala began.  The protestors, carrying a banner reading “NYC Rejects the Party of Hate” were led out of the hotel by NYPD and arrested for trespassing.  Gothamist reported that 21 other demonstrators were arrested on the street for disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and blocking traffic.

NYPD efforts to control the press were abundant and aggressive. A megaphone-wielding cop repeatedly shouted down Injustice.in reporter Adam Ciminello as he was filming the demonstration with one foot on the sidewalk and another halfway off the curb.  While filming live for Global Revolution TV, activist Joe Fionda was violently hip-checked as his arm holding the camera was forcefully shoved by another NYPD officer. Two videographers for Democracy Now! were arrested and taken into custody.

One well-documented clash between protestors confined to their designated pen and a violent Trump supporter occurred just minutes into the event.  Activist Mike Bento was punched in the face.

“I feel like it’s just an example of exactly the kind of thing that Trump stands for: violence against people of color,” Bento said.

Eventually the assailant left the area, the crowd chanting, “KKK, go away!”  He was back again 20 minutes later to shout, “Fuck Black Lives Matter.”  Bento would later be arrested while there does not appear to have been an arrest made for his attacker, the man with the “Make American Great Again” hat who shouted into the racially-diverse group, “Learn how to protect yourself. Learn how to shoot an AR-15.”  On Twitter this counter-protestor was identified by Keegan Stephan as Angelo Bonsignore, the owner of the NYC Shooters Club.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that inside of the New York State Republican Gala, Donald Trump tried to downplay the activists by questioning their authenticity.

The New Yorker reported:

A couple of hours later, at the nearby Grand Hyatt, the candidate addressed the New York State Republican Gala, as did Ted Cruz and John Kasich. There, Trump encouraged the audience to “take a look outside. These are paid protesters, folks. They’ve got the most beautiful signs. . . . If they’re real protesters, we want those signs made in the basement.”

While inside trumpeting his “New York Values,” real New Yorkers, however, made sure everyone in the area knew that these “values” of hate, ignorance and brutality did not represent their city.

 

About Rebecca Lawrence

Rebecca Lawrence is a freelancer in Brooklyn, NY. She is owned by two blind cats. Tweet at her @rebeccalawrence

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