Fourteen protesters were arrested outside the Metropolitan Republican Club in the Upper East Side on Tuesday, following a sit-in demanding that the GOP confront and expel white nationalists from its own party.
The action, organized by Jewish activists affiliated with a range of progressive organizations, was held in response to this weekend's synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh—the single most deadly attack on American Jews in the country's history. As protesters sat shiva for the 11 victims, they sang Kaddish and banged on the doors of the GOP headquarters, while urging Republican leaders to more forcefully denounce violent extremism.
— Ilana Levinson (@IlanaLevinson) October 30, 2018
In addition to condemning the daily incitements and apparent cluelessness of the Trump administration, the protesters also directed much of their rage at the local Republicans who invited Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys ("Baby's First Brownshirts," as one organizer put it.) to the Metropolitan Republican Club. Following that appearance—in which McInnes reenacted the assassination of Japanese socialist Inejiro Asanuma—members of the Proud Boys clashed with antifascists in the streets, with members of the ultranationalist group yelling Homophobic slurs and bragging about beating foreigners.
In spite of this, the Metropolitan Republican Club has continued to defend the Proud Boys, while state GOP Chairman Ed Cox has seemed primarily focused on the vandalism of the club.
"We came out because nowhere feels safe anymore," David Klion, a writer living in Brooklyn, told Gothamist afterward. "The right is murdering and assaulting us in our own communities, so we wanted to hold the Republican Party directly accountable for the hate they’ve been stoking."
The Metropolitan Republican Club windows are a pretty good chronical of this month. <2 weeks ago they were vandalized ahead of the club hosting the Proud Boys. After a Proud Boy brawl + bad press, club pulled campaign posters from windows. Now, post Pittsburgh massacre: pic.twitter.com/nFRQO9SG0I
— Kelly Weill (@KELLYWEILL) October 30, 2018
"As Jews, we know that we are only safe when we are in solidarity with everyone else who white nationalists want to destroy," added Emma Saltzberg, another participant in the protest. "We came to mourn our losses—our fellow Jews as well as the two people who were killed in Louisville last week for being black Americans—and to say: we are here, and we and white nationalism’s other targets will not be cowed."
A spokesperson for the NYPD could not immediately confirm the number of protesters arrested or what charges they'll face.
The demonstration is one of several actions to happen in New York City in the wake of Pittsburgh's mass shooting. On Saturday, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in Union Square to say Kaddish for victims of the massacre.