Hundreds of protesters remained in City Hall Park on tarps and under beach umbrellas for the third day in a row, demanding that Mayor Bill de Blasio agree to reallocate at least $1 billion of the NYPD’s $6 billion budget.

“We have thousands of New Yorkers, who, despite corona, are coming out and saying there’s too much money in the police budget,” said Carlene Pinto, a Black Lives Matter Activist and community organizer in Harlem. “We’ve cut hospitals, we’ve cut schools, we’ve cut everything else, why can’t we cut the police as well?”

Smoke from a sage stick snaked through the air as participants shifted along the sidewalk to stay in the shade of the surrounding trees as the hours passed by. Volunteers distributed water, pizza, and donuts at the edge of the street and occupants set up a makeshift first aid station and a lost and found.

“We’ve been to a lot of other protests, and this one has an amazing sense of community,” said Kristin Blaske, 23, of Carroll Gardens. “The media can see from this that we are not just, as they would say, ‘animals.’ We do care for one another. There’s so many supplies, everyone is looking out for each other. No one is telling us that we need to do these things for each other, it’s just what we know we should be doing.”

Protesters also came equipped with women’s products to share, and art supplies to make signs. They sprawled across the square on blankets, tarps, and sheets (tents are not permitted). Dozens of protesters have also been staying overnight.

The NYPD was keeping close watch over the small village that had popped up on Centre Street. There were about a dozen police officers at the site during the afternoon, sprinkled around the perimeter.

“The energy here is just so chill, and it gets the same point across,” said Bushwick resident Michael Wilson, 32, as he embroidered an ornate Black Lives Matter banner.

Participants used the people’s mic to announce that lunch had arrived. “Your five pies... of pizza…. are here!” the crowd chanted in perfect unison, amplifying a deliveryman’s message.

Roughly a month has passed since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers and the city was roiled with massive protests that were sometimes violently suppressed by the NYPD.

For some protesters, this change of pace is a reminder of the importance of dialogue.

“The context of this gathering is different,” said Brownsville resident Samantha Arias, 21. “The other protests and marching, there was a lot of rage and anger behind those, opposed to this, where we just want to show how much of a community we can be. For ourselves, show how close you can get, and how much you don’t need the police. We can have calm conversations where everyone is listening with a more open mind.”

“All these people are young here, but I’ll be 76 in August, but we’re all marching for the same thing,” said Cassandra Schriffer of the East Side in Manhattan. “This movement is about getting rid of the silent people. Getting rid of everyone who is silent about the R word, ‘racism,’ silent about discrimination.”

So far, the City Council has proposed a cut of $1 billion from the NYPD budget, though they have yet to receive full support from the mayor. The budget plan is slated to be finalized on June 30th.

Until then, protesters said they will remain in City Hall Park.

“This movement is different because this movement is full of white people,” said Schriffer, who is Black. “Now you have people of all colors marching together, telling their stories, and now, people are getting it. And I think it’s going to be different this time.”