New York police attacked LGBTQ people on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots following the Queer Liberation March.
As New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted about honoring the 51st anniversary of Stonewall (June 28), police were brutalizing protestors with pepper spray and physical violence. The annual Queer Liberation March was winding down, and participants were celebrating by dancing in the streets when police charged the crowd. The officers, who kept their badge numbers covered, swung batons, shoved people to the ground, and arrested a number of protestors, witnesses told Buzzfeed News.
“It was very peaceful, very chill,” protestor Eliel Cruz told Buzzfeed. “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. I walked by five or six people on the ground who were pepper-sprayed and were washing their eyes.
The altercation with police happened at Washington Square Park, only five minutes from the gay club Stonewall Inn, where in 1969 police raided and attacked patrons leading to six days of protests and riots which Qbecame the catalyst for the gay rights movement in America.
A spokesperson for the coalition behind the Queer Liberation March said they were “horrified and furious” at the attack.
“We are horrified and furious at the brutal police attack on peaceful marchers using pepper spray, violent shoving, and arrests,” they said. “At the exact moment that Mayor de Blasio tweeted about honoring Stonewall and the LGBTQ rights movement, the NYPD completely overreacted with unprovoked physical violence—including pepper-spraying their own colleagues. The police refuse to say exactly how many were arrested and refuse to state the reasons for their arrest or their charges.”
Mayor de Blasio has not commented on the incident, but announced today (June 29) that he plans to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s nearly $6 billion budget.