SantaCon, a mass gathering of Christmas revelers all wearing Santa Claus outfits, was scaled back this year because of the Million March protests against police violence in New York City. Even with the precautions, many feared that SantaCon would clash with the Millions March, or at the very least, overshadow the event. Luckily, a war of words was the worst friction for the two groups.
SantaCon is an event that began in San Francisco in 1994 as an rejection of Christmas commercialism, inspired by theater actors. However, it has recently become what the Village Voice called a “reviled bar crawl.” The Millions March NYC protest was a day of anger to stop police brutality, inspired by the grand jury decision not to indict the officers who killed unarmed Eric Garner on the streets of New York.
Like something from a cliche sitcom, planners scheduled both events at the same time in Manhattan.
According to CBS News, to try to keep revelers away from the Millions March, SantaCon organizers scaled back the party and told Santas to stay inside designated bars, saying in a statement, “Due to the planned protests this Saturday, SantaCon is scaling back this weekend’s festivities in order to create the lowest possible impact.”
Still, many feared that anger and drunken joy could not coexist peacefully, and some took to Twitter to show their frustration.
— julia anrather (@janrather) December 13, 2014
The Millions March protesters had reason to be concerned, and the SantaCon event was already under substantial pressure to shape up. Last year, the a video called Santapocalypse showing several Santas engaged in an extended fight circulated throughout the Internet, highlighting the out-of-control partying.
Luckily, a real clash never happened. In fact, the SantaCon festivities seemed far less rowdy this year as police report that not a single Santa-related arrest occurred.
As for the Millions March NYC protest, while the police department estimated that about 25,000 to 30,000 people showed up, organizers claim the number was at least 50,000, according to Newsday. The group took over Manhattan with participants chanting “I can’t breath,” the now famous last words of Eric Garner. To the participants credit, Millions March also had no arrests or violence.
The two groups of people may not get along in general, but the Santas and Millions March protesters proved that Manhattan can endure both joy and anger on the same day.
[Image Credit: Ted Alexandro/Twitter]