Clashes between protesters and counterprotesters sprang up outside New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ official residence in Manhattan on Sunday as hundreds of people from Staten Island protested the opening of new migrant shelters in the borough.
Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa called on Adams to house asylum seekers at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of New York City mayors, instead of shelters spread throughout the five boroughs. Adams had previously pledged to house migrants in Gracie Mansion before backing away from the idea.
Footage captured outside Gracie Mansion shows counterprotesters clashing with the group. People can be heard in the video calling the counterprotesters Antifa.
“Antifa had been sending out emails and texts all weekend,” Sliwa told Fox News Digital, “saying that they would be there to smash the xenophobes, including me and Eric Adams.”
“Their whole goal was to smash the xenophobes,” Sliwa said of the counterprotesters.
Sliwa is also seen in the video telling protesters to stand behind a police barricade that was set up for safety and security and also trying to break up arguments among the two groups.
NYPD officers are seen intervening and taking several people into custody.
Sliwa was among five people arrested during the protest. Sliwa, an 81-year-old woman and an 80-year-old man were all charged with obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, FOX5 New York reported, citing police.
A 32-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman were charged with assault, the report said. The man was additionally charged with resisting arrest.
A spokesperson for Adams released a statement to Fox News Digital via email: “New Yorkers are weary of bearing the brunt of this national crisis, and we empathize with their concerns. With more than 100,000 asylum seekers that have come through our intake system since spring 2022 and hundreds more continuing to arrive in our city asking for shelter daily, New York City has been left largely alone to deal with a national crisis that demands difficult decision-making. We have opened 206 sites, including 15 large-scale humanitarian relief centers, and are constantly searching for new places to provide asylum seekers with the shelter they are asking for. But let’s be clear: This situation demands a broader state and national solution.”
The latest protest was against a migrant shelter at St. John Villa Academy, a former school in the Arrochar neighborhood of Staten Island that is now owned by the city.
On Friday, a judge granted a temporary restraining order, blocking the city from housing migrants in the building, WABC-TV reported. The order, however, was reversed hours later when the city won its appeal.
Another protest was scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday outside the former school.
An estimated 100,000 asylum seekers have come to the state in the last year, with most arriving in New York City and filling up homeless shelters.
Both Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul have implored President Biden to help with the surge of migrants.