19 AIDS activists arrested near Wall Street, City Hall

Protesters dressed as Robin Hood to encourage Wall Street to contribute a tax that would fund AIDS treatment.

A group of activists demanding more help for AIDS patients put on two displays of civil disobedience today, resulting in 19 arrests.

The protest marked the 25th anniversary of ACT UP, an advocacy group for people living with AIDS. One group of demonstrators, joined hip to hip by a chain, spread across Broadway, just off Wall Street. Another group of protesters sat in furniture they placed on Broadway near City Hall.

Nine protesters were arrested in the demonstration near Wall Street, according to police. Officers cut the chains before cuffing the protesters, who staged the demonstration to demand that Wall Street contribute a Financial Speculation Tax, which they claim would raise $350 billion for AIDS treatment by 2015. The tax is often referred to as the “Robin Hood Tax Campaign,” which is why protesters wore hats reminiscent of the Medieval character known for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

“ACT UP has been occupying Wall Street since 1987, recognizing that corporate greed and the political inaction that it buys fuels the epidemic,” said activist Staci Smith.

Ten of the arrests happened near City Hall when protesters dragged couches and chairs onto Broadway to demand more housing assistance for people with HIV/AIDS

Police said most of the 19 people arrested were charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction of governmental administration or both.

While the protesters held signs with the message, “Act Up & Occupy,” Chip Duckett, a spokesman for the activists, said today’s demonstrations were not a direct action of Occupy Wall Street, but the message of ACT UP is supported by the movement.


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