Hundreds protest as swastikas and 'Go Trump' appear in NY park

At least 300 people, including Beastie Boys singer Adam Horovitz, protested in New York on Sunday against what they said were hate crimes inspired by the election of Donald Trump, after swastikas appeared in a Brooklyn park

AFP November 21, 2016 08:52:08 IST
Hundreds protest as swastikas and 'Go Trump' appear in NY park

At least 300 people, including Beastie Boys singer Adam Horovitz, protested in New York on Sunday against what they said were hate crimes inspired by the election of Donald Trump, after swastikas appeared in a Brooklyn park.

The park bears the name of Adam Yauch, a bassist and singer with the Beastie Boys who campaigned for human rights. The popular group broke up in 2012 following his death of cancer. Yauch had played in the park as a child.

Some time before Friday morning, vandals used spray paint to draw awkwardly formed swastikas and the words "Go Trump" on a children's playground train.

Hundreds protest as swastikas and Go Trump appear in NY park

US President-elect Donald Trump. Reuters

City workers quickly painted over the graffiti, and by Sunday the defaced areas had been covered with flowers, hearts, messages of love and Tibetan flags, in tribute to Yauch, who was a Buddhist.

The defacement — of a sort seen in many parts of the country since Trump's election, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors extremism — sparked widespread outrage on social media.

Brad Lander, a New York City councilman, criticised Trump in a tweet, saying that the president-elect "took time to condemn the thoughtful plea of the @HamiltonMusical cast. But not the swastikas in his name in a Brooklyn playground."

Trump criticised the "Hamilton" cast on Twitter after a lead actor had urged Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who attended a performance Friday, to ensure that the incoming administration respect racial, cultural and social diversity.

The Grammy-winning Beastie Boys, formed in the 1980s in Brooklyn, were one of the great successes of the hip-hop genre.

The surviving Beastie Boys — Horovitz and Mike Diamond — tweeted on Saturday: "Hate has no place in Brooklyn, NYC or America. Join us on Sunday to stand against hate messages."

Horovitz was joined by elected officials including New York state senator Daniel Squadron, a Democrat, as well as leaders of several religious communities.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, have said they will not tolerate hate crimes or expressions of racism, and they announced a series of measures to protect anyone targeted, whether Muslim, Jew, immigrant or member of a sexual minority.

Thus, Cuomo announced Sunday that he was creating a special state police unit to deal with such crimes.

Having set up a special helpline to take calls from potential victims, Cuomo also announced the creation of a fund to help immigrants in need of legal protection.

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