On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, ACT UP NY commemorated its 25th anniversary with a march on Wall Street, returning to the scene of their first demonstration on March 24, 1987. Joined by Occupy Wall Street, Queering OWS, Housing Works, Queerocracy, Fed Up Queers, and others, the activists are demanding the passage of a Financial Speculation Tax (better known as the Robin Hood Tax) to fill AIDS funding gaps.
During the course of the day's events, 19 protesters were arrested for acts of civil disobedience. Traffic on Broadway was halted twice. Demonstrators, chained together, formed a line across the avenue. After the NYPD had cleared the street, another group blocked traffic again, this time by dragging furniture into the street to illustrate the plight of the many homeless people who are infected with HIV, forced to live in the streets because they are unable to get adequate support from HASA (NYC's HIV/AIDS Services Administration).
(More on this story below, after our exclusive video coverage of the protests.)
ACT UP at 25 from David Wallace on Vimeo.
Representing those charged, noted attorney Richard A. Luthmann stated, "The District Attorney's office has made no offers of outright dismissal with respect to the 19 arrested at the ACT UP protest. What is clear is that anything less than an outright dismissal of all the pending charges shows a failure of District Attorney [Cyrus] Vance's office to recognize the pivotal significance that ACT UP has had in combatting the global AIDS pandemic for tyhe past quarter-century towards bring about the day when AIDS is no more... ACT UP has had a seat at the table in informing and molding public health policy in every Presidential administration, with the United Nations and with the World Health Organization. The group remains a powerful force for social justice and change, and we are going to assure that they are treated fairly."
ABOUT THE FINANCIAL SPECULATION TAX: The FiST would not target individual investors and would not affect regular banking transactions. It would place a small tax on speculative trading by Wall Street investment banks, hedge funds and other large financial institutions, the kind of transactions that largely precipitated the economic recession of the last few years. Nine member-nations of the European Union are currently considering such a tax, and the International Monetary Fund agrees that such a tax would not have a negative impact on domestic financial markets in countries in which it is implemented.