Upper East Side

‘No Protesting Allowed': UES Sign Meant to Look Official Irks Demonstrators

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Protesters march down the streets on the Upper East Side nearly every single night, meeting at Carl Schurlz Park, which has become full of signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

But one sign that popped up recently is getting most of the attention lately. It reads: "Absolutely no protesting allowed."

The sign is clearly meant to look like it is official, placed there by the city. But they did not, and now the search is on for whomever is responsible.

Rebecca Lamorte, who's running for a seat on New York City Council, alerted City hall and the Parks Department online.

"Once my eyes fully fixed on it, I was like oh, this is someone trying to disenfranchise our first amendment rights," Lamorte said. "It makes me angry. It makes me want to keep turning out and protesting, because it's our first amendment right to assemble and raise our voices for something we care about."

Lamorte said they have not been able to figure out who is behind the placement of the sign, but said they have some ideas based on the people who heckle the protesters every night.

The founder of a group called "Defend NYC," made of people who believe that Black Lives Matter and Antifa are "domestic terror organizations," said he wasn't the one who posted the sign, though didn't seem to think it was a bad idea.

"I wish I was (the one who put up the sign)," said David Brotsky.

He has had what can generously be called a frosty relationship with the Upper East Side protesters, with Brotsky's own website displaying a flier calling the group's gatherings there "illegal." But he insists he and the group had nothing to do with this.

"I just find that it's hilarious that someone did that because that's what this group kind of deserves after 120 nights in our neighborhood — it's like, give us some peace!" Brotsky said.

Protesters find it far from hilarious. The sign has since been taken down, but Lamorte said that ultimately, it could end up encouraging more demonstrations.

"No one is going to deter the community from fighting for what we feel is right," she said.

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