Protesters took to the streets at Staten Island Tuesday night to physically block the arrival of an MTA bus via which asylum seekers were being transported to a converted shelter. Many of the protesters were arrested by police as a result.
A video showed a group of unruly protesters sailing and banging on the sides of the bus. The incident resulted in traffic getting halted just before 10 p.m. after the bus was intercepted. The bus was headed to the former Island Shores senior assisted living facility.
10 protesters were arrested from the streets and nine of them were issued summonses for disorderly conduct, according to the police. Vadim Belyakov, 48, was charged for allegedly assaulting an officer who was trying to make an arrest.
Some of the protesters also gathered outside the facility at Father Capodanno Boulevard and Midland Avenue and whistled and screamed, “You’re not welcome!” and “You are illegal!” Other demonstrators carried signs and chanted “USA! USA! USA!” A man with a megaphone denounced the migrants’ arrival. No physical altercations between the protesters and the migrants or the bus crew were reported.
Mayor Eric Adams condemned the “ugly display” put on by a very small group of New Yorkers during a television appearance on NY1 Wednesday.
“We have 8.3 million New Yorkers and we cannot allow the numerical minority that shows an ugly display of how we deal with crisis be used as an example of what New Yorkers are doing. Of course, New Yorkers are frustrated, New Yorkers are really concerned,” the mayor said. “And even the migrants are really concerned. We are both stating that this crisis should be dealt with in a manner where the national government carries out the role that it is supposed to. It should not be left on the backs of New York City residents.”
Adams noted that the NYPD “handled those small number of people” who were acting disorderly. “I understand the frustration that New Yorkers are going through and understand the frustration that asylum seekers are experiencing as well,” he said.
“We need a decompression strategy, we need to properly fund this national crisis by calling it a state of emergency and we need to allow the asylum seekers to work,” Adams said.