On May 31, protests in New York City continued over the murder of George Floyd. A diverse crowd of predominantly young people massed outside of the Barclays Center with cops standing idly in the background.
After several rounds of chants honoring the victims of police brutality, the protesters began converging with another group marching down Flatbush Avenue. The mood was jubilant as drivers honked and put up their fists in solidarity with us. As we approached the bridge, a protester directed us to consolidate onto one road so the police could not separate and arrest us.
We marched across the Manhattan Bridge as the sun set over the city. New York City Housing Authority residents opened their windows and shouted in support. As we reached Chinatown, we attracted more sympathetic onlookers.
Suddenly, the police formed a line, cutting off the protesters from advancing. Despite the peaceful nature of the protests, the police responded with force, sending the crowd running. Although the crowd was divided and marching up different side streets, we reconvened on Broadway, with the police not far behind. As the protesters approached Union Square, the police formed another line.
They demanded that the protesters disperse and threatened us with arrests and violence. A firetruck drove down the streets and protesters parted for it. The driver used the firetruck to remove makeshift barricades that protesters had set up. The evening culminated in broken glass, the smell of fires in the distance, and the arrest of nearly 100 protesters.