New York Daily News: MANHATTAN – Protesters crowded Union Square and Greenwich Village on Friday evening to express anger over the Supreme Court’s ruling eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.
“It’s really upsetting,” said protester Talya Schwartz. “I don’t even think I’ve processed it yet. I just came out here immediately so I could have something do and channel my energy.”
Hundreds of people poured into Union Square Park in Manhattan and soon began marching down Fifth Avenue toward Washington Square Park. Governor Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx, Queens) appeared before the Union Square crowd.
“Pro-life, that’s a lie, they don’t care if people die!” shouted protesters who filled the streets of Greenwich Village before the group stopped and sat in the middle of Fifth Avenue at 11th St blocking traffic for about ten minutes.
The group then converged with a swarm of thousands of protesters in Washington Square Park as helicopters buzzed overhead.
Exasperated protesters carried mournful signs denouncing the 6-3 ruling to overturn the nearly 50-year-old landmark decision as they circled the famed marble Washington Arch.
Schwartz, 40, carried a a sign that read, “It’s a hard choice, but it’s her choice” while support group Mutual Aid in Washington Square Park handed out contraception, water and pizza.
“If enough people show up, make noise, our lawmakers will push harder,” Schwartz said. “Care. Pass laws. Protect beyond the New York area.”
“There’s nothing like 176m women scorned,” said a sign carried by Brighid Mariquit, 30, which referred to the number of women in the United States.
“It’s time to say a lot more of hell no,” Mariquit said. “It’s time to speak up for women, especially those who aren’t empowered. This cannot stand.”
Fashion Institute of Technology student Blake Santos said was furious over the decision.
“It’s about women having a choice over their bodies,” Santos, 20, said. “It’s not something that should be decided by a majority group of men.”
Hochul told protesters in Union Square: “This will go down in history as a dark day. Tonight we stand together, and tomorrow we fight back.”
Ocasio-Cortez reflected on a moment she anxiously awaited a negative pregnancy test, but felt solace in her ability to choose an abortion if she needed to.
“It doesn’t matter. This is for all of us. This is not a woman’s rights issue. This is an issue for all of us. It takes two to tango, baby,” the congresswoman said.
Ocasio-Cortez suggested willing New Yorkers help women women whose states deny access to safe abortions.
“We’re going to have to open our houses and our couches to people who are seeking safe passage,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We have a responsibility to protect people as much as we can, as long as we can.”
The NYPD deployed additional officers and other resources to monitor the protests.
“We are cognizant of the Supreme Court’s ruling today and the strong and divided feelings on both sides of this issue,” a police spokesperson said in a statement. “The NYPD is here to support all expressions of free speech or protest as long as it is peaceful, lawful and non-violent.”
The department will pay close attention to places it expects to be hot spots for vandalism and property damage, the spokesperson said.
“Any such instances will be investigated fully and prosecuted.”
Police have not been made aware of any calls for violence and there is no intelligence extremist groups will target any of the rallies, sources said.
Top Feature Photo: Protesters gather in Union Square and march to Washington Square on Friday in response to the Supreme Court eliminating constitutional right to abortion – Barry Williams/for New York Daily News