NYPD officers clear migrant encampment at Midtown hotel

NYPD officers clear migrant encampment at Midtown hotel

Police and sanitation workers cleared out the sidewalk encampment where a group of asylum seekers had been camping out for three days in protest of the city’s effort to relocate them to a 1,000-bed shelter at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

An NYPD spokesperson confirmed police were at the scene, but didn’t provide further information about the sweep. There were no arrests, a department spokesperson said.

“They kicked us out of there like dogs,” said Ivan Pereria in Spanish, reached over the phone shortly after the occurred sweep Wednesday night. “The police took the suitcases, people dispersed.”

He said he was getting warm at an activist’s apartment nearby, unsure where he’d spend the rest of the night.

“We ran from there,” said Anthony Luna, in Spanish, another migrant who spoke to Gothamist over the phone on Wednesday night. “We’re thinking what we can do now. We have to go somewhere else.”

Activists on the scene said NYPD’s Strategic Response Group – the controversial paramilitary unit deployed heavily during the protests of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd – had arrived around 8 p.m.

Video and photos taken by activists at the scene showed sanitation workers tossing suitcases into a DSNY dumpster and police removing e-bikes from racks and scaffolding outside the hotel.

The city Sanitation Department referred all questions to City Hall.

The encampment had grown to several dozen since Sunday evening, when a handful of migrants returned from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, asking to be let back into the Watson Hotel, where they had been staying. They said the 1,000-bed shelter in Brooklyn was cold, with outdoor showers and no privacy. Others who were told to leave the Watson throughout the week joined the men camping outside, rather than go to the Brooklyn facility.

Mayor Eric Adams blamed “agitators,” for the protest, and said while several dozen men were refusing to go to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, hundreds of others had moved without fuss. A spokesperson for the mayor didn’t immediately return an email or a phone call requesting comment Wednesday night.

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