Yesterday's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan was the usual mix of family fun, terrifying mutant Spongebob balloons, and aging KISS members on parade floats. But there was also a slightly less usual sighting: a group of activists protested alongside the parade all morning, in response to the Ferguson grand jury verdict. "Mike Brown’s not at Thanksgiving dinner," protester Nkozi Weusi Shakur told the Times.
Around 100 people were protesting Thursday morning as the parade wound its way through Midtown. Cops were prepared for any demonstrations, with extra officers out along the route: "We will not tolerate, under any circumstances, any effort to disrupt this parade," Police Commissioner Bratton said before the it began. "This is a national event, a historic event. Anybody who would seek to interrupt it would be callous, indeed, on this very special day."
But things were peaceful for the most part, with a sit-in at Times Square and various marching and chanting along 6th Avenue. The one exception happened near 37th Street and 6th Avenue around 10 a.m., when a group of protesters allegedly tried to barrel through some barricades to get into the parade. A window was also broken during the incident, but it's not clear who broke it.
"The goal of today was to stop the parade and send a message. The Ferguson verdict shows a compete lack of respect for black youths," one of the arrested protesters, Khaleed Alston, told the Post. "Four officers picked up the metal barrier and started pushing us back, and that’s when the chaos started. My girlfriend was getting bulldozed over by the barrier, so I reached out to grab her hand. As I try to grab her hand, an officer pulls me back into the street and shoved my face to the ground."
Seven people, six men and one woman, were arrested altogether. Cops say five people were hit with disorderly conduct charges, a sixth was charged with unlawful assembly, and the last person was "likely" given a desk appearance ticket.
Below, you can watch a 15-minute documentary on the protest, made by Zishun Ning, one of the participants in the #StoptheParade action.