Photos show how protesters in New York City are occupying City Hall, demanding the police budget be cut before the July 1 deadline

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A group of Black Lives Matter protesters congregate at City Hall across from One Police Plaza as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement after spending the night on June 24, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Hundreds of protesters have set up camp inside City Hall Park in Manhattan to demand at least $US1 billion be cut from the New York Police Department and shifted toward community resources before the city’s July 1 budget deadline.
  • On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to cut the city’s police budget by cancelling the hire of more than 1,000 new police officers and shifting school safety officers from police control to the Department of Education.
  • But protesters say this falls short of their demands, and clashes between protesters and the police began to break out on Tuesday morning.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hundreds of protesters have set up camp outside of City Hall Park in Manhattan to demand at least $US1 billion in cuts from the NYPD before the city’s July 1 budget deadline.

In rallying cries to defund the police, protesters have gathered to pressure the city into shifting money designated to the police department toward community resources including education and social services.

Grassroots organisations kickstarted the movement last Tuesday, following the latest in a series of protests after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man whose death at the hands of police has sparked outrage across the world.

Protesters have been sleeping in the park day and night, and have set up an organised system with resources, food, and sanitation – reminiscent of Occupy Wall Street and Seattle’s most recent autonomous zone.

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to cut the city’s police budget by $US1 billion by cancelling the hire of 1,163 new police officers and reallocating funds from school safety officers into the Department of Education.

Protesters say it’s not enough.

On Tuesday morning, videos on social media showed protesters clashing with police, and many have said they will keep occupying the park after the budget vote takes place.

These photos give a look inside what has been dubbed the Occupy City Hall movement.


For one week, protesters have gathered in spaces across from City Hall in Manhattan to demand at least $US1 billion be cut from the NYPD’s $US6 billion budget.

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A group of protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other groups camp at City Hall Park to demand structural and budget changes for the city’s police department at an upcoming city council meeting on June 25, 2020 in New York City. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


A grassroots organisation called VOCAL-NY set up camp in City Hall Park to demand police defunding before the city’s July 1 budget deadline.

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A group of Black Lives Matter protestors congregate at City Hall across from One Police Plaza as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement after spending the night on June 24, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


Since then, hundreds of volunteers and activists have joined the movement and created a space dubbed as “Occupy City Hall”, the “City Hall Autonomous Zone”, and “Abolition Park.”

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A sign that says âCity Hall Autonomous Zoneâ is seen as Black Lives Matter protestors at the City Hall as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement continues on June 27, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: Rolling Stone


Organisers, a large portion of whom are Black and queer, have completely transformed the park in a matter of days. The movement is now made up of a coalition of organisers, non-profits, and volunteers loosely referred to as the The Black Collective.

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Hundreds of Black Lives Matter protestors congregate at the City Hall as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement continues on June 27, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sources: The New York Times, Rolling Stone


Volunteers have taken in large quantities of food donations and set up an organised system of resource distribution, safety, and sanitation services throughout the park.

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Black Lives Matter protestors organise supplies for protestors after they congregated at City Hall across from One Police Plaza as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement after spending the night on June 24, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


Many volunteers work around the clock to service the self-reliant zone, with some protesters sleeping during the day in order to keep things up and running at night.

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Demonstrators relax inside of an area being called the ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ that has been established to protest the New York Police Department and in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’ near City Hall in lower Manhattan, in New York City, U.S., June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Source: The New York Times


Organisers have set up a welcome desk with information and supplies.

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Black Lives Matter protestors organise supplies for protestors after they congregated at City Hall across from One Police Plaza as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement after spending the night on June 24, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


Though social distancing can be difficult throughout the park, many volunteers have made efforts to keep protesters protected from the coronavirus. Here, volunteers distributing food are seen wearing masks with a sign that says “no mask, no service.”

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A group of protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other groups congregate in a park outside of City Hall in Lower Manhattan as they continue to demand that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) be defunded on June 30, 2020 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Source: Rolling Stone


Hundreds of protesters have set up makeshift areas to sleep with sleeping bags, hammocks, and tents.

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Protestors occupy the City Hall Park in New York City after they march around the City Hall and One Police Plaza in New York City, United States on June 23, 2020. ( Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: Rolling Stone


The number of protesters sleeping overnight has grown from 27 to 200 in a few days, while thousands of volunteers filter in and out of the park in the daytime, Rolling Stone reported.

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A group of Black Lives Matter protestors congregate at City Hall across from One Police Plaza as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement after spending the night on June 24, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: Rolling Stone


During the day, protesters listen to speeches, make signs, meditate, play cards and music, and engage in open dialogue.

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An activist shouts on a megaphone at City Hall Park to demand structural and budget changes for the city’s police department at an upcoming city council meeting on June 25, 2020 in New York City. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Source: The Guardian


There’s a library, a community garden, a tea hut, areas for artistic creation, a laundry station, a voter registration booth, and a prison letter-writing station.

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A library stand is seen during the hundreds of Black Lives Matter protestors congregate at the City Hall as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement continues on June 27, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

Sources: The New York Times, Rolling Stone


The protesters have even set up cell phone charging stations and their own WiFi network.

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A makeshift mobile phone charging station is seen at a protest to defund the police in an area demonstrators are calling the ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ near City Hall in lower Manhattan, in New York City, New York, U.S., June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Source: Rolling Stone


Signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” “Defund the Police,” and “We keep us safe,” adorn the exterior of the occupied area.

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A person hangs a sign at a protest to defund the police in an area being called the ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ near City Hall in lower Manhattan, in New York City, U.S., June 27, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Source: The Guardian


Hand-made art displaying slogans to defund the police covers the ground and surrounding areas.

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A sign is seen painted on the footpath at a protest to defund the police in an area being called the ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ near City Hall in lower Manhattan, in New York City, U.S., June 27, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Source: New York Times


The zone has also become a meeting place for other marchers coming from Manhattan and Brooklyn, who come to engage with other protesters and pick up supplies.

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A group of protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other groups hold a banner at City Hall Park to demand structural and budget changes for the city’s police department at an upcoming city council meeting on June 25, 2020 in New York City. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


The area has been largely free of a police presence since it developed last Tuesday, and organisers have worked together to form a collective vision for the movement.

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People gather at a protest to defund the police in an area demonstrators named ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ near City Hall in Lower Manhattan on June 30, 2020 in New York City. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Rolling Stone


With tents set up and music frequently filling the air, the zone can sometimes take on the feeling of a music festival or party.

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Demonstrators relax inside of an area being called the ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ that has been established to protest the New York Police Department and in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’ near City Hall in lower Manhattan, in New York City, U.S., June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Source: Rolling Stone


Because of this, some organisers have feared the occupancy could lose its tone and become too overrun by white voices.

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A group of protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other groups camp at City Hall Park to demand structural and budget changes for the city’s police department at an upcoming city council meeting on June 25, 2020 in New York City. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Sources: The New York Times, Rolling Stone


To alleviate those concerns, organisers at varying points hold assemblies to orient the growing crowd on a list of demands and the importance in respecting Black leadership.

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People gather at a protest to defund the police in an area being called the ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ near City Hall in lower Manhattan, in New York City, U.S., June 27, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Source: Rolling Stone


“We are extremely proud to watch this movement grow,” one assembly statement read. “Respect black leadership. This is a black led-direct action. No Karens,” the protesters chanted together, according to Rolling Stone.

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A group of protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other groups camp at City Hall Park to demand structural and budget changes for the city’s police department at an upcoming city council meeting on June 25, 2020 in New York City. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Source: Rolling Stone


Though protesters in the zone agree on defunding the police, some have questioned whether a $US1 billion budget cut is enough. Many have vowed to keep occupying the zone after the budget vote takes place on Tuesday.

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Hundreds of Black Lives Matter protestors congregate at the City Hall as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement continues on June 27, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to cut $US1 billion from the NYPD by cancelling the hire of 1,163 new police officers and shifting safety patrol officers in schools from the control of the police to the Department of Education. But many protesters say that’s not enough.

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A group of protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other groups camp at City Hall Park to demand structural and budget changes for the city’s police department at an upcoming city council meeting on June 25, 2020 in New York City. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Sources: NBC New York, The New York Times


Celina Trowell, an organiser with VOCAL-NY, told the Guardian the proposition was simply “moving [money] from one system of oppression to another”. She added: “That’s not enough, and that’s not what we’re asking for.”

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Hundreds of Black Lives Matter protestors congregate at the City Hall as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement continues on June 27, 2020 in New York City, United States. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: The Guardian


The budget vote will have to be decided before 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday. The morning before the deadline, police in riot gear swooped in to clash with protesters and issue arrests.

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Demonstrators from the ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ march to the New York Criminal Courts building to protest the NYPD and in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’ near City Hall in lower Manhattan, in New York City, U.S., June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


But the protesters aren’t stepping down. “If we don’t get what we want, we will turn up and escalate tactics until we get our demands heard. We will be intentional and strategic,” Jonathan Lykes, an organiser of the movement, told Rolling Stone.

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Demonstrators relax inside of an area being called the ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ that has been established to protest the New York Police Department and in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’ near City Hall in lower Manhattan, in New York City, U.S., June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Source: Rolling Stone