Authorities arrested several people — including former Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa — during a noisy rally Wednesday over a newly opened mass migrant shelter in Queens.
Hundreds took part in the protest, demanding the closure of the city’s newest makeshift shelter, which opened Tuesday on the grounds of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.
The new emergency room is expected to house about 1,000 adult male immigrants as authorities grapple with the tide of asylum seekers reaching the Big Apple.
Protesters chanted “No tent city,” “Close border,” “No migrants,” and “America first.”
As a busload of migrants arrived at the facility on Wednesday night, one person was heard yelling “a bunch of parasites, sorry to say that” while others shouted “USA!”
During the demonstration, Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, refused the authorities’ order to leave in the middle of the road near the Creedmoor facility and was arrested when another protester waved a Trump 2024 flag in the background.
Sliwa handed his sign to another protester while officers handcuffed him. He could not initially be reached for comment on Wednesday evening.
However, Sliwa’s arrest came as no surprise. Before the protest, he had vowed on social media that he was ready to be taken into custody as a form of civil disobedience.
The NYPD warned protesters through an automated message over a loudspeaker that those blocking traffic would be arrested for disorderly conduct if they did not move.
The NYPD did not immediately have an accurate count of how many people were arrested.
Funded by the state, the massive emergency site in Queens consists of four buildings, including two tents, that can sleep a total of about 1,000 men. There is also a dining area, portable showers and toilets on site.
Queens residents have previously protested against the Creedmoor site after Mayor Eric Adams announced news of its construction late last month. Some locals claim the influx of 1,000 migrants would “destroy our community”.
About 100,000 migrants arrived in NYC last year, prompting city officials to call on President Biden and the federal government for help.