Today is the 23rd annual World AIDS Day, which aims to raise awareness about the disease and the need for funding for research and treatment. Earlier this morning Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosted a breakfast at the Brooklyn public library, and protesters came out in the rain to blast the mayor for his administration's cuts in AIDS services. Some demonstrators dressed as bagels (which were served inside at the breakfast), and the police, perhaps mistaking them for a different circular pastry item, were quick to slap the cuffs on them. Here's video:
According to Housing Works, activists "chained themselves together and blocked traffic at Grand Army Plaza to draw attention to Bloomberg’s relentless attacks on AIDS housing services for the poor." Protesters also disrupted the mayor's speech inside the breakfast. The group says Bloomberg was influential in convincing David Paterson to veto the 30 percent rent cap bill legislation which would have provided housing security to 10,000 low-income New Yorkers living with AIDS.
Yesterday Liza Minnelli rang the bell at the stock exchange to call attention to World Aids Day and The Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR). Today there are a number of related events around New York, including a 24-hour vigil in City Hall park; a free HIV screening in Times Square from the Community Healthcare Network; and video booths set up by Hairdressers Against AIDS for the “Use Your Voice, Use Your Power” initiative, which encourages people to record HIV prevention messages.