DEFEND MAYDAY 4/26 thurs 1 pm at NYC Parks Department

2018 MAY DAY
Union Square
Press Conference and Protest:
Thursday, April 26, 1 pm

At: NYC Parks Department,
24 West 61st St, NY, NY

NYC Parks Department illegally denies
MayDay Rally at Union Square        

Activists to protest at the NYC Parks Department to defend annual MayDay rally

NYC Parks Department’s arbitrary permit policy
is a violation of constitutional rights

NEW YORK – This year, the NYC Parks Department is attempting to arbitrarily push the historic MayDay Rally to a location 3 blocks away, at the back end of Union Square.

The sudden change in location threatens to throw the whole of May Day into confusion. Many hundreds of New Yorkers who arrive at Union Square on May 1 will not know where to go. Logistical and safety plans are at risk. This decision is an intentional move by the City of New York to shut down May Day.

For over 100 years working people, unions, migrants, community organizations and organizations of oppressed people have gathered at the broad South Plaza of Union Square, along 14th Street in Manhattan on May 1 – International Workers Day, also known as May Day. The south plaza location is a major cross street thoroughfare.

Defense of Migrants, Muslims, LGBTQ community, the Black Lives Matter Movement, union rights, opposition to racist police repression and all U.S. wars are the themes of the annual rally and march.

One week before the planned annual rally at the usual historic location their permit for Union Square South was denied and organizers were told that only the backend of the park was available to them. The fraudulent excuse given by Claudia Pepe, Director of Special Events and Permits for the NY Parks Service, was that there is currently heavy construction on the 14th Street Union Square plaza location.

Activists quickly exposed that there is no construction at the location or anywhere in the park, and documented this with video and photo evidence of 14th Street between Broadway and Union Square West. There is no obstruction that blocks pedestrian access anywhere on the wide-open South plaza.

Sara Flounders and Sharon Eolis of the International Action Center have applied for the MayDay Rally permits annually since 2005. Sara Flounders asserted: “This denial is a clear violation of the constitutional right to assemble in public places. In the age of Trump such arbitrary abuse of bureaucratic authority should be challenged. It is part of the climate of raids, round-ups and growing police repression and militarization.

City officials and in particular the NYC Borough Commissioner of Parks William T. Castro must be held accountable for the unconstitutional violation of First Amendment Right of Assembly by Claudia Pepe, the Director of Special Events and Permits.”

Sharon Eolis explained: “The organizers of MayDay at Union Square applied for the required Parks Department permits more than 3 months ago. In a personal visit to the NYC Parks Department we confirmed that there was no conflicting event on the Plaza. NYPD Sound permits were also applied for.

Nina Macapinlac, an organizer with the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, which is part of the same May Day Coalition, declared:  “Many hundreds of young activists are determined to defend their legal right to assemble and protest the current onslaught of militarism, raids and round ups at the site where working people, especially generations of immigrant workers have gathered for decades.

MayDay is being increasing criminalized. Last year there was an unwarranted and intimidating police presence. The denial of a park permit is part of a trend to attempt to intimidate communities from celebrating International Workers’ Day. Despite this, we will take collective action because International Workers’ Day is all about standing up for our communities and asserting our rights.”
The Rally on Tuesday, May 1,
MAY DAY is scheduled for
Union Square South
from 12 pm to 5 pm

Tell the city of New York and @NYCParks:
You can’t shut down May Day!
We have a right to rally and demand our rights!!

NYC Borough Commissioner of Parks
William T. Castro

Claudia Pepe,
the Director of Special Events and Permits (

2018 MAY DAY Union Square