New York Police Department officers on Sunday arrested and pepper-sprayed protesters who were participating in New York City’s Queer Liberation March, according to multiple reports and social media posts.
According to the Gothamist, as two people were being arrested for graffiti, other protesters intervened to try to release them. In response, NYPD officers pepper-sprayed the protesters and a fruit stand employee who was nearby.
According to LGBTQ Nation, officers also brandished their batons and pushed people to the ground while keeping their badges covered.
In a tweet on Sunday, the NYC Protest Updates 2020 account shared a video showing protesters booing cops as they proceeded through the march.
“NYPD is pushing on #QueerLiberationMarch and have made arrests near Washington Square Park,” the tweet said. “Tensions are rising.”
In the clip, protesters can be heard yelling “fuck you” as cops move through the crowd, some on mopeds and some on foot.
“It was very peaceful, very chill. I didn’t see much police presence. Then I saw 20 cops on bikes and a few cop cars speed up right away, so I walked a little quicker,” witness Eliel Cruz told LGBTQ Nation. “I walked by five or six people on the ground who were pepper-sprayed and were washing their eyes.”
A video tweeted by Mike Perles shows a massive crowd dispersing as people yelled for medic assistance.
The march and subsequent arrestss came a year after the NYPD formally apologized for the Stonewall riots of 1969, which were sparked by a police raid at the Stonewall Inn.
In a video, New York City Council candidate and drag artist Marti Gould Cummings addressed Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about the weekend’s events.
“Stonewall was an act of resistance against the police, and now your cops are fucking beating people, arresting them at a demonstration at Washington Square Park?” Cummings said. “Fucking resign.”
The incident also comes amid a nationwide uprising against police brutality and the institution of the police force following the killing of George Floyd. Sunday marked the fifth day of the “Occupy City Hall” movement, with hundreds of protesters camping outside of New York City Hall to demand a cut of $1 billion from the NYPD ahead of the city’s budget deadline on Wednesday.