New York public transit is putting a stop to “die-in” protests at Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal after more than a month of nightly demonstrations at the station.
The protests, where groups of demonstrators fall to the ground to symbolize the death of Eric Garner, have occurred every night at Grand Central since a Staten Island grand jury decided Dec. 3 not to indict the police officer involved in Garner’s death, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The rules have always been you can’t lie down in Grand Central,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Adam Lisberg said Tuesday. “When the protests began, we were prepared to allow a disruption of the rules under the circumstances. … We can’t allow it anymore.”
MTA said other forms of protest could continue as long a people didn’t lie on the ground.
MTA police made their first protest-related arrests Tuesday afternoon, charging Marc Train and William Talen, who goes by Reverend Billy, with disorderly conduct after they allegedly got into a physical confrontation with officers, the New York Daily News reported.
Savitri Durkee, an activist and partner of Reverend Billy, said the MTA’s decision to ban die-ins violates the group’s right to protest.
“I believe a performative act like a die-in is protected by the First Amendment,” she told the Daily News.
Lucy Sun, a 25-year-old protest organizer, said she would continue to protest at Grand Central and comply with the reinstated rules, but couldn’t speak for the other demonstrators, WSJ reported.
“Tonight’s going to be weird,” she told the paper.