A large group of demonstrators marched and held up signs at a popular Manhattan, New York intersection in the wake of a large-scale raid conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in Mississippi that netted roughly 700 illegal immigrants.
The raid was reportedly the largest single-state round-up of illegal immigrants in law enforcement history, according to WLNY.
“I am absolutely infuriated by children being broken up and split from their families as our government detains people rounded up all these immigrants last week,” Nikki Blazek said.
Another protester, Miriam Bernstein, echoed her statement. “We are protesting the camps at the border and the children being separated from their parents.”
They could be seen linking arms and holding up signs that read “ABOLISH ICE” and “CLOSE THE CAMPS.” According to The Hill, they could also be heard shouting chants like, “ICE lurks here.”
The group of nearly 100 protesters was apprehended by police after they shut down a busy intersection on the West Side Highway and West 26th Street. All lanes of the popular roadway were completely shut down for a short period of time.
That particular intersection wasn’t chosen at random, either. Bernstein explained to the news outlet why the group specifically chose that location. “ICE has offices in that building on the seventh floor, that is why we chose this particular intersection,” she said.
Police buses arrived to facilitate in the arrest of such a large gathering and all of the participants reportedly were charged with disorderly conduct. They were later released, according to Fox News.
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) August 10, 2019
In a video of the incident posted on Twitter, you can hear an automated police message that warned the protesters and directed them on where to move.
“You are unlawfully in the roadway and obstructing vehicular traffic. You are ordered to leave the roadway,” the message repeated.
Happening NOW!!! @CosechaMovemen and allies blocking the west side highway.
— Gili Getz ???? (@giligetz) August 10, 2019
ICE agents have come under intense scrutiny in recent months after reports of families being separated at the border have garnered increased attention due in part to exposure by high-profile, pro-immigration lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The reported unsanitary conditions at some of the ICE detention facilities on the southern U.S. border have also been subject to criticism by Democratic politicians, who blame President Donald Trump’s immigration policies for those types of problems.
Ocasio-Cortez sparked a firestorm in early July after visiting one of the migrant holding centers on the border with a group of lawmakers. She said that the conditions in which they were being held were “horrifying” and claimed that women were being forced to drink out of toilets, according to the New York Post.