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New York Post

Migrant standoff in NYC turns ugly as 10 outside activists move against media with open umbrellas

By Jack Morphet, Kyle Schnitzer, Valentina Jaramillo, Bernadette Hogan, Bruce Golding,


The ongoing migrant standoff at a Manhattan hotel turned ugly Wednesday after a group of about 10 outside activists used open umbrellas to prevent the news media from documenting the scene.

The intervention prompted several migrants to angrily confront a journalist who was shooting a video for Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV, with one migrant hitting the camera and dislodging its small monitor unit.

Some of the 35 migrants gathered in front of the Watson Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen also shouted at other camera operators to try to intimidate them.

NYPD cops issued warnings but made no arrests.

The newshound whose camera was struck, Ghassan Masoud, said he’d never been treated so badly during a career that’s included coverage of the Iraq War.
The ongoing migrant standoff turned ugly Wednesday after a group of outside activists used umbrellas to prevent the news media from documenting the scene.
Matthew McDermott

“In 30 years, even in war zones, I’ve never experienced aggression like that,” Masoud said.

“I know their situation is bad. I just want to tell their story and they attacked me.”

Masoud, who usually covers the United Nations, described the migrants as “aggressive.”

“One migrant threatened to hit me with a broom, which is when the cops stepped in and told them I had every right to film,” he said.

The migrants have been camped out on the sidewalk since the weekend, when they were told to relocate to a new migrant processing center at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

City Hall has blamed activists from groups including South Bronx Mutual Aid for fueling the standoff , with mayoral press secretary Fabien Levy saying, “I don’t even understand the logic here.”

“Instead of encouraging asylum seekers to sleep in warm, indoor, temperature-controlled quarters at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, these groups are telling migrants to sleep in tents on the streets,” he tweeted Monday . “The lack of reasoning here is astounding.”
Newshound Ghassan Masoud said he’d never been treated so badly during his career, including while covering the Iraq War.
Matthew McDermott
The migrants have been camped out on the sidewalk since the weekend, when they were told to relocate.
Efren Landaos/Sipa USA

During a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Mayor Eric Adams referred to the activists as “some agitators that just really I think are doing a disservice to migrants and doing a disservice to the children and families we’re moving to hotels.”

Adams also said that “single adult males all over the city are living in congregate settings” like the cruise terminal.

“Children and families, we don’t want to put them in congregate settings,” he said.

On Tuesday, four migrants agreed to tour the processing center with city Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro — but decided they’d rather sleep outdoors and returned to the hotel sidewalk.

Adams blamed that choice “on what they were hearing from some of the agitators, that they were going to be shipped out and that’s why we’re taking them there.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, about half of the migrants outside the hotel grabbed their belongings and piled into a yellow school bus after cops shut the street to eastbound traffic.

They later arrived at the cruise terminal, with one telling The Post in Spanish from a bus window, “We reached an agreement to improve the new facilities while they relocate us to a better place.”

The remaining diehards told The Post they had no intention of leaving, despite weather forecasts that predict sub-freezing temperatures, including a low of 6 degrees Friday night.

“I would 100% rather stay here on the street than go to Brooklyn,” said Jesus Colmenares, 27. “We want to be in Manhattan, where everything is happening.”

The Venezuelan native said he visited the cruise terminal Wednesday morning, adding, “I’m not going to go there and sleep to rest my head next to somebody’s feet. That’s how close the beds were. And there’s people from all over being sent there, not just from the Watson.”

But Colmenares also said, “I’ll go if they give me a work permit. We need to work, we just want to work.”

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