Four protesters wound up in police custody Wednesday while they held a demonstration outside of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Midtown office, where they blocked incoming traffic along 3rd Avenue.
Members of VOCAL-NY have been protesting outside Cuomo’s office sporadically for several weeks now demanding an end to homelessness and overdosing. Their outcry is for the passage of the six-bill legislation entitled, “Invest in Our New York Act,” which would increase taxes on the inordinately rich, and the money would be used for social services.
But on March 10 they also had one more demand: Cuomo’s resignation, as the embattled governor faces a sea of scandal surrounding his administration’s handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths and several allegations that he sexually harassed women.
Similar to previous protests held by VOCAL-NY, at around 11:30 a.m. individuals marched outside of Cuomo’s office at 633 3rd Avenue, where they halted Midtown traffic between East 40th and 41st Streets. Demonstrators held two banners, “Cuomo canceled New York” and “NY did not cancel Cuomo” while chanting, “Tax the rich, house the poor!”
This time the peaceful protest ended with police officers swooping in and making arrests, carting away approximately four activists. Well over 20 officers with stacks of zip-ties dangling from their belts grabbed several protesters, one being VOCAL-NY member, Jawamza James.
“We are here in the name of thousands of overdose deaths. We are here to pass a New York state budget for poor and working families across our state. Governor Cuomo, his leadership has failed. His leadership has failed. He no longer can represent New Yorkers,” Williams said prior to being arrested via a Twitter video by VOCAL-NY.
Cuomo has failed New Yorkers. He has harmed millions of vulnerable people through public policy — and harmed women in his personal life. His leadership has failed. pic.twitter.com/R30cHlW7qP
— VOCAL-NY (@VOCALNewYork) March 10, 2021
A witness told amNewYork Metro that around 12:22 p.m. Wednesday, NYPD officers began threatening to arrest protesters for blocking traffic. Within about 20 minutes, the police strapped zip-ties around the wrists of four protesters. Additionally, a journalist shared that officers threatened to arrest reporters on the scene photographing the incident.
VOCAL-NY’s protest has been held several times outside of Cuomo’s Midtown office where they raise awareness to the inhumane hardships inflicted on vulnerable communities in New York, as well as decrying Cuomo’s response to homelessness, overdoses, and the prison system.