Pro-Palestinian Activists Declare NYC Park an Autonomous Zone

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(Luis CornelioHeadline USA) Are autonomous zones making a comeback? A newly released video suggests so. 

A pro-Palestinian activist group has declared a section of a New York City park a “no cop autonomous zone” in protest against Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip. Video footage released by independent journalist Oliya “Scootercaster” on Sunday shows the declaration. 

The group responsible for the purported “autonomous” park is Within Our Lifetime (WOL), a radical organization known for several viral protests in New York City. “Land Day at Zuccotti,” read one flyer posted by WOL on Twitter, referring to Zuccotti Park (formerly known as Liberty Plaza Park).

In the video circulated by Scootercaster, signs, apparently erected by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, are seen. Among them, one starkly states, “Welcome to the People’s Park.” Other posters carry anti-police slogans like “No Pigs Allowed” and “Revolution Until Victory.”

The source of the flyers at Zuccotti Park is uncertain as it’s unclear whether they were distributed by WOL or its associates. However, the sentiments conveyed by the signs at Zuccotti echo those expressed in WOL’s own flyer.

“Only we keep us safe,” the group wrote in the flyer, interjecting the acronym ACAB, which stands for “All Cops Are Bastards.” The flyer also stated, “No ppl police or yellow vests.” 

In the flyer, WOL issued demands for the protest, many of which extended beyond the Israeli-Hamas conflict. Among these demands, the group called for the redistribution of funds by the NYPD to the community. Additionally, they demanded the dismantling of the NYPD’s anti-terrorism Strategic Response Group.

The group further demanded the resignation and arrest of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, currently facing allegations of sexual assault dating back to 1993 when he worked for the Transit Bureau as a police officer.

WOL also addressed immigration issues, advocating for the placement of illegal immigrants in New York City’s vacant buildings. “New Yorkers will be given rent decreases and pauses as landlords + real estate companies are held accountable,” the group wrote. 

WOL also touched on immigration, calling for the placement of illegal aliens in New York City’s empty buildings. “[New Yorkers] will be given rent decreases and pauses as landlords + real estate companies are held accountable,” the group wrote. 

It also called for “no transphobia,” “no ableism,” “no anti blackness,” “no homophobi,a, [sic],” “no sexism,” and “no racism.”

The emergence of the so-called autonomous zone coincides with WOL’s increasing involvement in pro-Palestinian protests, which have led to several arrests. This was notably demonstrated when the group led hecklers who threatened to disrupt the family-friendly lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree in 2023.

Self-declared “autonomous” zones gained national attention in the summer of 2020 following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a police officer and later became a symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement

In Seattle, activists declared the Capitol Hill neighborhood an “autonomous” zone but were ultimately cleared by police officers less than a month later, in July 2020. 

It remains unclear whether the pro-Palestinian group genuinely intends to occupy the park or if it merely used the phrase to garner attention or for shock value.

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