At around 8 a.m. EST today (October 26), 10 immigrant and voting rights activists shut down the upper level of the George Washington Bridge which connects New York City and New Jersey for 45 minutes, causing major delays during rush hour. Officers with the Port Authority NY/NJ arrested the nonviolent protestors. The New York Post reported that all four lanes were reopened by 8:50 a.m.
Protestors chained themselves across the New York City-bound side of the interstate bridge, holding a banner that read, “Resist, Organize, Rise Up!” Vehicles honked, and one man even approached the activists, clearly agitated as shown in a video Alexander Rubinstein of RT America posted to Twitter.
— Alexander Rubinstein (@AlexR_DC) October 26, 2016
The action was part of a #WeAreVisible and #SomosVisible campaign that the Laundry Workers Center helped organize. They are fighting for voting rights for immigrant communities, who have been a major target this presidential election. In the Asian-American community, 60 percent of new eligible voters since 2012 are immigrants who naturalized, according to the Pew Research Center. Twenty-six percent of new Latinx voters are eligible through naturalization.
“The immigrant community is tired of being in the shadows,” said Laundry Workers Center co-director Mahoma López, in an online statement. “For many years we are here, we contribute, we pay taxes, we build this country, but in the end, we don’t have the right to participate in the decisions at the local and national levels.”
While some were excited about the action, as Latino USA reported, others used it as a platform to spew anti-immigrant rhetoric or disproval of the tactic used.
— Raquel de Anda (@deAndaAnda) October 26, 2016
Literally nobody is going to be inclined to be sympathetic to your cause if you block traffic. This was a dumb move. #WeAreVisible
— e (@nokebabs) October 26, 2016
— THE LAST REAL MAN (@ManUpTime) October 26, 2016
I support the message of #WeAreVisible, but I’m not sure how I feel about shutting down the GWB during rush hour.
— Nasty Women Vote (@democrat2theend) October 26, 2016
“We are one with Mother Earth and with all oppressed people in the shadows”
GW BRIDGE SHUT DOWN IN NYC pic.twitter.com/3D9c5pH9OQ
— Millions March NYC (@MillionsMarch) October 26, 2016
Later today, campaign organizers will continue to send their message at a rally in Union Square Park, New York City.