Hundreds of protesters pushing tax hikes on the rich and monetary support for illegal immigrants shut down traffic on the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges on Friday morning.
Photos showed marchers halting Manhattan-bound traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn-bound traffic on the Manhattan Bridge. Demonstrators paused halfway across each bridge for a moment of silence to honor essential workers killed by COVID-19.
Both bridges were completely blocked to regular car traffic shortly after 10:50 a.m., according to the state’s 511 traffic alert system.
Demonstrators dispersed just after 11:30 a.m., according to videos from the scene.
Participants included groups representing undocumented workers such as cabbies, street vendors and domestic workers, as well as convicted felons and undocumented tenants.
The groups have called on Albany to create a fund for 1.2 million state residents who were excluded from COVID-19 unemployment and stimulus benefits approved by Congress last year — due to either their immigration status or past convictions.
“I’m a survivor of COVID. I was hospitalized for two weeks,” said demonstrator Paola Ramirez, a hairstylist.
“What I earn is not enough to survive with,” Ramirez said. “I pay my taxes, but I’ve been excluded from all relief aid.”
Proponents of the $4.6 billion proposal have called on the state to pay for it with a tax on the state’s wealthiest residents.
“The time to take advantage and exclude our people has come to an end,” said Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa (D-Manhattan), one the proposal’s supporters, who attended the rally.
“We need $4.6 billion because our communities deserve no less.”