The Black Lives Matter Movement has made its presence felt in City Hall park.
Since August 1, hundreds of supporters have banded together to be part of what is being called the “Millions March at Abolition Square.” The protest, reminiscent of the Occupy Wall Street movement nearby, has called for an end to the so-called “broken windows” style of policing by the NYPD; reparations for victims of police crimes; and the re-investment of much of the NYPD’s $5.5 billion annual budget into communities of color in New York.
The movement was invigorated on its first day by the announcement by NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton that he planned to step down. Though Bratton said his decision had nothing to do with the protests, the fact that his resignation was a central plank of the City Hall sit-in prompted cheers in the crowd.
“The idea of the movement is to build a society without police and without belief in caging people up in institutions such as prison,” said Vienna Rye, one of the organizers of the protests. “We are bred in a society with cages to trap people, but that’s not the way that people should be living.”
Rye has camped out at City Hall park for one week and said that on average at least two dozen people camp out a night. She called the movement peaceful, but said she feared of violence if police become aggressive with the protestors.