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A woman who claimed she was in a vehicle that passed through a protest in New York City’s Times Square described in a social media post how she was harassed and feared she wouldn’t survive the encounter.
Video of the experience posted to Facebook shows a Ford Taurus making its way through a group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators. At one point, some people appear to block the car with bicycles while it rained. The vehicle stopped for a moment, then took off.
“What happened last night was not a peaceful protest,” Juliet Germanotta, who is transgender and a longtime activist, said Friday on Facebook Live.
“I believe every single human being has the right to have political beliefs, ideologies, whatever,” she continued. “I believe in the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, and I will stand up with anyone to protect your freedom of speech.
“I don’t support hate. I don’t support bigotry. And I don’t support violence,” Germanotta continued, adding that in all her years of being an activist she has never harmed or threatened to harm anyone.
“What happened last night shoulda never happened,” Germanotta went on. “A mob…tried to physically assault, and in my opinion, tried to kill us. These individuals do not care about justice. They do not care about law and order. I do not know what these people care about, but they do not care about human lives.”
“This is something I have never seen before,” she added. “And to see the media call these people ‘peaceful protesters’…if you think trying to assault people…and then trying to kill people is peaceful, I’m here to tell you that that’s not peaceful.”
In an interview with WABC-TV, one protester said the driver of the car was attempting to pass through a red light.
“If you go through a red light when there are people in the crosswalk, you are accepting the chance that you hit somebody,” the protester said.
Car drives through Black Lives Matter protesters, Times Square, New York City, 8:10 PM, Thursday, September 3, 2020#BlackLivesMatter #BLM #TimesSquare #NewYorkCity #NewYork #NYC #ny pic.twitter.com/G3mwAy3vGx
— DataInput (@datainput) September 4, 2020
Germanotta, who has been arrested a number of times for vandalizing the “Black Lives Matter” ‘mural’ Mayor Bill de Blasio had painted on the street in front of Trump Tower, was reportedly part of a smaller group of counter-demonstrators supporting the president, Fox News reported. The network added that Germanotta said her group was told by NYPD officers to leave the area around 8 p.m. Thursday.
The network said several people speculated that the Taurus was an unmarked NYPD vehicle, but the department later disputed that.
But, the car’s license plate did match a Ford Taurus police interceptor that is linked to pro-police demonstrator Hakim Gibson, according to Gothamist. The outlet went on to note that Gibson made Facebook posts which said the vehicle had been purchased at an auto auction and then fitted with a push-type bumper and a spotlight.
“Our lives were in danger,” Germanotta said, according to WABC-TV.
“Over 300 people, part of the other protest, started verbally harassing and taunting us. Started following us, when police tried to escort us up 46th Street. We then proceeded to get into a car,” she said. “The protesters got to 46th Street, blocked us in, started trying to open the car, hit the car. The driver then drove through to try to get us to safety.”
“My life was verbally threatened,” she added. “Multiple occasions, people said they were going to get me, they were going to hurt me, they were going to kill me, that my life doesn’t matter.”
On her Facebook Live broadcast, Germanotta said she’d received more than 200 death threats.
She also said that for two decades she has been a “Democrat and a Democratic Socialist,” but she will be supporting President Donald Trump in November.
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