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NYC’s Pride participants clash with police as celebrations turn violent

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Violence erupted Sunday evening at New York City’s Pride celebrations when a food vendor was repeatedly punched in the face and tense clashes with the police broke out forcing them to use pepper spray to regain control of the crowd.

The altercation took place in Washington Square Park when an elderly hot dog vendor was allegedly bashed in the face by protesters resulting in a bloody nose and a busted lip. His head was also bleeding from the vicious attack by an unnamed woman.

The man was standing next to his food cart when he was blindsided by the woman who punched him in the head and almost knocked him to the ground. He then attempted to get away from her and a group of celebrants chased him, Daily Mail reported. He ran and then fell to the ground and the police rushed to help him. The woman who attacked him accused him of using a slur. Individuals came to his aid and tended to his injuries.

Sunday evening there was a very large police presence at the festivities with offers wearing riot gear, helmets, visors, and brandishing shields. Batons were also at the ready. At least eight were arrested earlier as Pride goers faced off with police. NYPD officers were forced to deploy pepper spray in the park as attendees were angered over how they responded to a breach in the metal barricades that surround the park and its iconic arch. Individuals on social media accused officers of shoving one of the broken barricades into a woman. Bottles were thrown at the officers.

(Video Credit: Daily Mail)

After that incident, officers reportedly swarmed into the park. The police were confronted by people chanting “move back!” or yelling “why are you in riot gear?” When revelers would not disperse, the police started making arrests.

Among those arrested was a 23-year-old woman who allegedly threw a water bottle at the police and bit a lieutenant. Another woman also threw a water bottle at the officers, according to WPIX-TV.  They were arrested for assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and resisting arrest.

Two men allegedly slapped officers as well. They were issued desk appearance tickets and charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest, according to the NYPD. Three men and a woman were given a summons for disorderly conduct because they started fights at the event.

NYPD officers were banned from participating in this year’s parade. They have been prohibited from attending until at least 2025 due to stated fears that their presence would “harm” attendees. That decision was made after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

“There’s talk of mace happening right now at Washington Square Park. There is a sea of cops here,” Twitter user Christine Chung asserted.

An individual dressed in all black spray-painted “ACAB” in red just a few feet from officers as NYPD vehicles lined the street between University Place and Fifth Avenue on Washington Square North.

“I am currently watching NYPD charge Washington Square Park with riot gear (helmets, pepper spray, batons) … potentially to break up pride celebrations? It certainly looks like they are confronting people celebrating pride from my vantage point,” tweeted Meredith Cash. “The NYPD has attacked the Queer Liberation March, used pepper spray, and arrested at least one person. Now they’re out in force, and riot gear, threatening more arrests. This is why it’s no cops at Pride.”

One person was heard shouting into a megaphone to loud cheering: “The NYPD is not welcome at Pride!”

“We’re talking about a decision that’s making unnecessary divisions in the community,” NYPD detective and Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) President Brian Downey stated on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” Friday in response to banning the police from the event.

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