Over 200 posters took to the streets of Manhattan on January 10th in retaliation to a proposed MAGA March.
Rumors swirled throughout Friday and Saturday that Sunday morning would play host to a pro-Trump demonstration at Columbus Circle. Fliers for this MAGA March were shared over social media, quickly outraging countless New Yorkers after they watched the bloody siege on the nation’s Capitol mere days earlier.
Before 9am, a battalion of NYPD officers could be observed outside the Museum of Art and Design on Columbus Circle, their faces portraits of unease as tension could be felt steadily growing on the frigid air. For many it seemed as if a war was brewing, and that’s exactly what it appeared to be mere blocks away on 59th Street and 6th Avenue.
A variety of anti-Trump and Black Lives Matter protest organizations converged beneath the José Martí statue in Central Park, making up an army of over 200 individuals. Demonstrators waved flags, played drums, and some even donned body armor and grasped large shields in preparation for conflict. Those in attendance were ready and willing to meet “proud boys” in combat, in their minds preventing another attack, like that which we saw on the Senate on Wednesday. Before the marchers even set off, some protesters could be seen heckling members of the press and those with cameras for attempting to snap photographs throughout early preparations, a fire stoked by one speaker who said: “Watch out for the far-right media.”
Akin to soldiers parading into battle, they marched downtown, chanting “Our city, our streets!” and “What’s that noise, f*ck the Proud boys,” echoed throughout the streets while they hammered their shields with closed fists and batons. Although those in military-esque gear led the war rally, countless more counter-protesters trailed behind with large banners, some banging pots and pans, and others using megaphones to steer the chants. This human convoy was flanked by NYPD cyclists, slowly pursued by police cruisers, and a low flying helicopter overhead. However, the NYPD presence was an unwelcome one.
The adrenaline built up by the potential clash came to a boiling point as the protest reached Times Square, prompting some individuals to break off from the main group and confront the biking officers. While exchanges became heated, no arrests were made.
With no “proud boys” or MAGA demonstrators in sight, hostility began to quell. The atmosphere became more jovial, with some within the sea of humanity removing ski masks and unfastening their goggles. The march continued to head downtown, where it concluded without incident in Madison Square park on East 23rd and Broadway.
Before the gathering broke up and members of the protest went their separate ways, several speakers commended activist organizations who joined in solitary for the morning counter-protest. It remains unclear if organizers of the planned MAGA march cancelled the event or merely rescheduled.