Subway Protest Takes Over Grand Central, Midtown Streets

Patch – by Kathleen Culliton

NEW YORK CITY — Thousands of protesters flocked to Grand Central Terminal and flowed out into Midtown’s streets during rush hour Friday to protest increased policing and rising fares in New York City’s subways.

The Decolonize This Place organized action followed a day of vandalism and civil disobedience throughout the transit system.

The protest was met with hundreds of cops who were seen arresting protesters shortly after the action started, dragging them out of the crowd and into the street. Twitter users said the arrests appeared to involve people wearing masks.

MTA Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren added, “While we respect the right to peaceful demonstration, we have zero tolerance for any events that put the public’s safety at risk.”

The protest started calmly around 5 p.m. Friday with attendees walking through the terminal and yelling chants including “From the A to the C, public transit should be free” and “How do you spell racist? NYPD.

Then, around 5:30 p.m., the crowd flowed out of the terminal and onto the street, swarming down West 42nd Street where it was met by hundreds of cops carrying plastic handcuffs.

Cops tried to block subway entrances, letting regular commuters through but clashing with protesters on the streets, where many more arrests were seen to be made. Several social media showed dozens of people jumping turnstiles and running into stations in the area.

Most protesters appeared to have left Midtown by 7 p.m. The NYPD said it did not yet know how many had been arrested.

Earlier in the day, protesters unveiled a large, black banner that read “F– your $2.75” at the World Trade Center station, gave out free swipes at a Bronx subway station, painted over an OMNY machine and chained emergency exit doors open, media posted to Twitter shows.

Police reported acts of vandalism across the city. In one, somebody used a chain to smash the screen of an OMNY machine at the station at West 50th Street and 8th Avenue.

The NYPD responded with a highly visible presence at stations thoughout the city.

A New Yorker told Decolonize This Place one company had authorized leaving work early so employees could avoid the Grand Central protest.

The rally came a week after the first of 500 new subway cops were sworn in, despite rising protests from straphangers and elected officials outraged over violent subway arrests, many of which shows cops targeting people of color.

Those concerns reached the Attorney General’s office, which has launched an investigation into allegations of racial prejudice in subway fare evasion policing.

Protesters have faced mounting criticism for their Twitter directive to “f— s— up” after President Donald Trump’s son replied, “Too late… The New York’s mayor has been doing that for years now.”

Patch editors Adam Nichols and Brendan Krisel contributed to this report.

One thought on “Subway Protest Takes Over Grand Central, Midtown Streets

  1. “……outraged over violent subway arrests, many of which shows cops targeting people of color……”

    Were they “targeting people of color” while allowing white people to commit the same crimes, or were the crimes in question being committed by people of color ??

    I’m going to guess that the majority of the “crimes” discussed here involve turnstile jumping (fare evasion), which is incredibly easy to get away with unless 500 new cops are preventing it. (one cop at each station)

    $2.75 per ride is $27.50 out of each weekly paycheck, and low, or minimum wage earners will definitely feel that, but it’s still a lot cheaper than driving to work. One possible solution would be to give out free or reduced cost train passes to welfare and/or food stamp recipients like they give to the school kids.

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