Tensions were high in New York’s so-called ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ (CHAZ) on Tuesday night, with protesters mocking cops over their education. The scenes left the demonstrators facing accusations of snobbery and privilege.
Eyewitness footage shot outside City Hall in Manhattan shows protesters berating the police with a torrent of abuse, suggesting the officers are “getting paid to sit there like f**king idiots.”
One man in a skirt even twerked in front of the police before launching a verbal tirade, claiming that hairdressers have to go to school for longer than police do and that cops “can’t even read a f**king history book.”
Protesters heckled the NYPD officers, including the dancer from above, who called the black officer a traitor to his people and a “fucking black Judas.” pic.twitter.com/uB63nIExrT
The beskirted man then directed his abuse at a black officer. “Traitor, traitor to your f**king people! You’re like the f**king black Judas! Selling Christ for f**king 33 cents,” he shouted while mincing back and forth before the line of cops.
The incident sparked a flood of criticism of the protesters’ actions, with many accusing them of displaying an extraordinary level of arrogance. “Confirms what we already knew. College campuses imbue students with hateful, ahistorical rhetoric and then send them out into the world as smug Marxist clowns,” commentator Erielle Davidson said on Twitter.
This is what privilege looks like.⬇️⬇️⬇️“Half of you don’t even have a college education!” https://t.co/7QvfzWJHXP
There have been repeated clashes and outbreaks of violence at New York’s so-called ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’, or CHAZ, in honor of its namesake protest camp in Seattle, which was unceremoniously torn down by police on Wednesday morning.
Eyewitness footage from the scene shows that protesters and police alike became increasingly agitated ahead of a New York City Council vote on police financing on Tuesday. The council subsequently voted to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion annual operations budget.
Taken nearly at 5:40am this morning at #OccupyCityHall in Manhattan. Even after we obeyed their orders to move to the sidewalk, they continued to push us even further back. We weren’t having it. pic.twitter.com/kvXK3hX8eR
Crowd near NYC’s CHAZ chants: “NYPD! Suck my dick!” pic.twitter.com/ZDwwQAE6e4
Opponents and supporters of the vote questioned the authenticity and effectiveness of the move. Some $484 million will be cut directly, including from upcoming training budgets, while $354 million will be shifted to other areas like education and social services.
The Co-Chairman of the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, I. Daneek Miller, opposed the cuts, saying it made no sense when crime was rising in the city, not falling.
The week-long NYC encampment was established in the last week of June and mirrored other similar protest outposts established across the US in Seattle, Portland and beyond. The New York CHAZ was established amid a backdrop of looting, outbreaks of violence, and a spike in crime including burglaries and murders.
There were 38 murders in 28 days in New York City during the peak of the anti-racism protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, twice the rate recorded during the same period in 2019. So far in 2020 there have been roughly 25 percent more murders in New York City than in the same period last year.
Seattle’s CHAZ finally met its end on Wednesday, with police arresting those who refused to leave, but scenes in recent days suggest that New York City’s CHAZ is just getting started.
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