Activists in New York City are planning to interrupt the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday to protest a grand jury’s decision this week not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson over the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
According to the New York Post, a group of two dozen activists gathered at Union Square in Manhattan on Wednesday to discuss plans for a flash mob intended to disrupt the annual parade. “The police aren’t going to arrest us and they are not going to shoot us,” an organizer reportedly said.
“Yes, they’re planning on crashing the parade,” a law-enforcement source told the Post. “With this hands-off approach, it gives them free rein to do anything they want. It’s a free pass to act like a fool.”
Thousands of demonstrators have flooded New York City streets each night since the announcement Monday that Officer Wilson would not face charges for the fatal Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Brown. On Tuesday, activists chanting “black lives matter” and “jail killer cops” successfully shut down an entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel and blocked both sides of the FDR Drive on Manhattan’s East Side.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has largely remained hands-off with the protesters, reportedly trying not to inflame resentment toward police officers or provoke a larger, messier response by activists. Despite major disruptions to traffic, police arrested fewer than a dozen people on Tuesday night.
“The police are backing down because they don’t want to cause any more riots,” an 18-year-old demonstrator reportedly said at Wednesday night’s gathering. “If they put their hands on another minority, all-out war will break out.”
On Twitter, supporters of the Thanksgiving Day parade protest promoted the hashtag #StopTheParade.
“Expose kids to the truth so one day they can help their parents understand that ignorance is not the way,” one user tweeted Thursday morning.
“White people shouldn’t care about a damn parade more than the lives and safety of black people,” another wrote.
I like the parade, but #stoptheparade.
— Nick Disband the Police Mamatas 🤼♂️🏴 (@NMamatas) November 27, 2014
How appropriate, almost poetic, that the holiday based on racism will be stopped in its tracks by marches against racism. #stoptheparade
— the fucking bombest (@thatislandchild) November 27, 2014
— Tech Brat (@shushugah) November 27, 2014
On Monday, 26-year-old protester Diego Ibanez splattered NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton with fake blood. Bratton described Ibanez as a “professional agitator” and added that he hoped the young man would “be a professional resident of Rikers Island if we have a successful prosecution.” Ibanez faces nine counts of assault on a police officer, among other charges.
Photo via Daniel P. Fleming/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)