Occupy City Hall movement grows as due date for budget nears
For four days, the Occupy City Hall movement has grown, as demonstrators demand defunding of the NYPD by camping out while officials work to determine the city's 2021 budget.
City Hall Park has remained covered with protesters, many who say they will not leave until at least Wednesday, when the city budget is due.
The organized movement has included a camp site built along Chambers Street, speeches and stands of volunteers handing out PPE and meals.
Organizers say come July 1, they want to see at least $1 billion slashed from the NYPD's budget. They want to see those funds be redirected toward education, health care and housing. They also want to see the change immediately, not in increments.
The crowd, which climbed over 1,000 in recent days, say if they don't have their demands met, they'll have to change negotiating tactics.
"We're not interrupting anything, we're not in traffic, we're being to ourselves we're occupying space," says Jonathan Lykes, cofounder of Black Youth Project 100. "But if we don't get what we want, we're going to have to be more disruptive, peacefully of course."
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has proposed a version of a $1 billion cut, but as of Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio would not commit to his demands.