New York

Black Women's March, State Troopers Face Off at New Tappan Zee Bridge

The protesters chanted "Whose bridge? Our bridge!" as they marched towards the span

What to Know

  • More than 100 people tried to march over the new Tappan Zee Bridge Saturday afternoon but were stopped by state troopers and snowplows
  • The marchers were bringing attention to injustices facing black women in rural and suburban areas of the state
  • The protesters ultimately crossed the bridge via a slow-moving caravan of vehicles

Dozens of protesters who planned to march across the new Tappan Zee Bridge in support of black women's rights were turned away by police before they were able to cross the three-mile span Saturday afternoon, so they went over in a slow-moving caravan of cars.

The Black Women's March, organized in part by Black Lives Matter Hudson Valley and 100sistas, was assembled to draw attention to injustices facing black women in suburban and rural communities in New York.

There was a heavy police presence in Tarrytown on Saturday morning as marchers hit drums and chanted “No justice! No peace!” and “Black lives, they matter here!”

"We're not scared. Martin Luther King wasn't scared. Our voices will be heard," organizer Vanessa Green said.

As the group of more than 100 people marched towards the bridge, troopers blocked the entrance to the span, officially known as the Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge, and said the protesters were trespassing and not allowed to cross.

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There were no arrests or injuries during the 30-minute standoff between protesters and state police, though at one point the protesters tried to push their way onto the bridge, which was blocked by dozens of troopers and snowplows.

The crowd ultimately turned back shortly before 1 p.m. and returned to a parking lot where they had assembled earlier. Around 3 p.m., the protesters created a caravan of cars and slowly crossed the bridge, honking and cheering as they went. 

In a statement, state police spokesperson Beau Duffy said authorities had told event organizers that the bridge was an active construction zone and highway, and that all foot traffic was prohibited.

"We strongly support the interest of any organization to engage in a peaceful march and express their message," Duffy said in the statement. "Which is why the state proactively offered several alternatives to marching on foot across the bridge, including offering other bridges or roads that are safe to walk across or other sites that may be of interest."

Organizers said the event gave them new momentum.

"We'll be back, we'll be back," Green said.

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