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Hundreds attend ‘Occupy City Hall’ protest in NYC to advocate for police department budget cuts

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Large swaths of demonstrators gathered and camped out in front of New York’s City Hall as part of an “Occupy City Hall” protest Friday into Saturday morning, according to The Associated Press.

The demonstrations follow a week of protests and demands for lawmakers to cut the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) budget. 

An encampment outside City Hall Park in lower Manhattan formed earlier this week following growing calls to end police brutality and racial injustice. Demonstrators across the country have been advocating for police reform after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in late May.

The name “Occupy City Hall” harkens back to the 2010 “Occupy Wall Street” movement that occurred in Zuccotti Park, just a few blocks away from the current encampment.

On Saturday, protesters sat, danced and occupied the space outside City Hall to demand action be taken by the city’s lawmakers to enact police reforms.

The protesters who gathered Saturday are part of a national “defund the police” movement seeking to take some funds from law enforcement and allocate them to other city programs such as housing and education.

Those in favor of the defunding plans are requesting that the City Council hack at least $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion budget. The protests come as the city is poised to begin working on a new budget next week.

Officials within the police force warned that if the budgets were cut, it would come at the same time the city is seeing a surge of shootings in recent weeks.

According to the New York Post, authorities reported 125 shooting incidents in the first three weeks of June alone.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has vowed to reduce the police budget but has yet to disclose how much money would be diverted. 

“We need safety and we need fairness. We need safety and we need justice. We have to do both,” de Blasio said.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died on Memorial Day in Minneapolis while a former officer knelt on his neck for several minutes until he became unresponsive. 

Tags Bill de Blasio George Floyd New York City New York City Occupy occupy city hall Occupy movement Occupy Wall Street United States

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