NEW YORK CITY - Tensions flared Sunday outside Gracie Mansion at an anti-migrant rally organized by Guardian Angels' founder Curtis Sliwa.
Demonstrators clashed with counter-protesters on the corner of E. 86th Street and East End Ave., where the situation escalated into physical violence, resulting in five arrests.
According to the NYPD, the following arrests and charges were made:
- 32-year-old man charged with assault and resisting arrest.
- 31-year-old woman charged with assault.
- 81-year-old woman, 80-year-old man and 69-year-old man charged with obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.
The 69-year-old man was identified as Sliwa.
The violent protests Sunday comes as tensions have reached a boiling point. Staten Island residents find themselves embroiled in a bitter dispute with the city over the relocation of asylum seekers to their neighborhood.
"Thank you very much Mayor Adams, you’re a real jerk," said Toni DeGennaro. "You should put them in your backyard. Go bring them to Gracie Mansion. We didn’t vote for this over here. We don’t want you here. Take them and get the hell outta here."
Residents and local Republican lawmakers have taken their objections to court.
Initially, a Staten Island Judge ruled in their favor, saying Mayor Adams’ administration cannot use an old Catholic school building now owned by the city to house migrants.
However, the city fought back and a few hours later, a higher court judge reversed the lower court ruling, meaning the migrants can stay put.
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The Mayor’s office said less than %2 of the 59,000 asylum seekers the city is caring for are being sheltered on Staten Island.
Residents said they're not giving up the fight, however, and more protests and legal battles are planned.