Protesters from Black Lives Matter and supporters of law enforcement officials and President Donald Trump squared off in two separate incidents Saturday in New York City and its surrounding boroughs.
Nearly 400 people attended a “Blue Lives Matter” rally in Brooklyn on Saturday, challenging New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to cut around $1 billion from the New York Police Department’s budget and reroute the money to social service organizations. Protesters marched down Bay Ridge Parkway carrying signs affirming “that policing is needed to keep crime down and communities safe,” according to NYC’s local ABC affiliate.
“They have been there, and they will always be there – are they perfect? No, but are you? Hello, America – it’s time to wake up,” one protester told the network, noting that law enforcement officials have suffered in recent weeks.
The group drew the ire of Black Lives Matter protesters who, in recent weeks, have been pushing to defund, disarm, and even disband police departments across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
In Brooklyn, though, conflict between the two groups was kept to a minimum. “There were arguments between the two sides, as well as a few discussions, but their interaction fizzled out,” ABC reported.
In New York City, the scene wasn’t as peaceful, as dueling protests met outside Trump Tower in Midtown, arguing over a Black Lives Matter mural painted on Fifth Avenue just outside President Donald Trump’s former corporate headquarters.
“Supporters and opponents of President Trump clashed in front of his New York City residence on Fifth Avenue on Saturday just two days after a large Black Lives Matter mural was painted on the street next to the entrance,” the Daily Mail reported Sunday.
“In Manhattan, about a dozen Trump supporters carrying signs that read ‘Trump 2020’ and wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words ‘All Lives Matter’ gathered in front of Trump Tower on Saturday afternoon,” the outlet noted. “Several of them were wearing red Make America Great Again hats while wearing variations of the American flag. A few of them unfurled a huge American flag that had the words ‘Trump’ and ‘Keep America Safe’ scrawled across the stars and stripes.”
Trump opponents gathered outside the building as well, and both sides were seen throwing “middle fingers” at each other during the confrontation. Trump supporters also descended on an opposing protester with a bullhorn, arguing over the president’s agenda.
De Blasio authorized the “Black Lives Matter” mural last week, angering some New York residents who complained that the mayor was pressing anti-police protests even as the city was cracking down on other gatherings, including the yearly, traditional San Gennaro festival in the city’s Little Italy, over concerns about the novel coronavirus.