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Enraged Protesters Stare Down Cops on Queens Boulevard

Protesters on Queens Boulevard (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

June 4, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

A tense standoff between a large group of demonstrators and the police almost boiled over in Sunnyside Thursday.

More than 100 protesters blocked up traffic on Queens Boulevard by 47th Street at around 3:40 p.m. and refused to leave unless NYPD officers joined them in taking a knee or raising a fist.

The protesters – who had been marching around Sunnyside/Woodside as part of a thousand-person demonstration – stared down a line of about 20 officers that were stretched across the road.

The protesters kneeled, raised their right fists and chanted “whose streets, our streets, peaceful protest.” They were protesting the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police last week and demanded racial justice.

They also chanted “NYPD, I smell racists” and “how do you spell murderers – NYPD,” at cops.

The police asked the crowd to disperse over an NYPD patrol car speaker – but they refused.

Instead, they shouted “take a knee,” and “raise a fist.” Protesters also chanted Floyd’s name and that of Breonna Taylor – a black woman who was shot eight times by police officers in Kentucky earlier this year.

A higher ranking officer began handing out zip-tie handcuffs to each cop as the crowd grew more vocal. A few minutes later the cops put on riot helmets and showed batons.

Protesters shouted “I don’t see no riot here, put away the riot gear,” and “NYPD fists up, NYPD fists up.” The standoff went on for about 15 minutes.

Another high ranking officer appeared in riot gear and spoke to two female protesters who were at the front of the protest. The women then went back to the crowd and they instructed fellow protesters to take a knee and raise a fist in silence for 30 seconds.

The crowd then dispersed chanting “what’s his name, George Floyd.”

The main demonstration, which was organized by a local activist Tuli Hannan, 18, assembled at Queens Boulevard and 46th Street – under the subway line – at around 1 p.m.

Demonstrators carried signs with “defund the police” “black lives matter,” and “abolish the racist NYPD.”

At around 2:30 p.m. they made their way eastward along Queens Boulevard and turned north onto Roosevelt Avenue. The protesters marched as far as 58th Street before turning around and heading back along Skillman Avenue.

The group turned left at 46th Street and marched southward across Queens Boulevard. They walked to 50th Avenue before turning back and stopping at their original meeting point. The standoff with cops occurred moments later.

Hannan said she organized the event on social media to remember people who have died due to discrimination, inequality, and injustice.

“Our purpose was to show that we will no longer be denied in our society,” Hannan told the Queens Post.

“We will no longer normalize being hated because we are minorities, because of who we are, of our skin tone, of our identity,” she said.

There were two unconfirmed reports of arrests during the march around Sunnyside/Woodside.

Protesters on Queens Boulevard (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Tuli Hannan (black top) leads the march (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

A protester sign (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Silence is Violence (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

A protester sign (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

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