While Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla won’t try and curb anybody’s right to peacefully protest, he is expressing a preference to participate in a virtual prayer vigil this week over an in-person George Floyd protest scheduled for Friday due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
” … In furtherance of our efforts to find the best and most safe way possible that meets the needs of two crises occurring at the same time, I have been in touch with our Interfaith Clergy, who will be hosting a ‘Hoboken Virtual Interfaith Clergy Vigil’ where Hoboken residents will be able to participate live and online,” Bhalla wrote in a Facebook post.
The virtual vigil will take place on Thursday, June 4th, at 5 p.m. and will stream on the Hoboken Clergy Coalition’s Facebook page.
Nevertheless, a protest is scheduled for the following day between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Maxwell Place Park. The event is being promoted by a group known as Allies 4 Justice.
A poster for the event uses the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and to wear face masks, bring posters, and be aware that pictures will be taken.
“I expressed my solidarity with the movement for racial justice, and we discussed our joint desire for this to be a peaceful and non-violent protest … From speaking to the organizers, we also expect the vast majority of participants will attend the protest for its intended purpose â€“ to protest the murder of George Floyd and racial injustice,” Bhalla continued, commending the police department’s efforts in planning.
“However, I am also concerned this event cannot be socially distant, as we have seen in other parts of the country, and may expose attendees to a risk of danger from individuals who may attend for reasons that are improper â€“ despite the best intentions of the organizers of this protest.”
Bhalla concluded that “I cannot offer you advice” on whether or not to participate, but urged everyone to make an educated decision.
The first protest over George Floyd’s death was in Jersey City yesterday, marching about a mile-and-a-half in Greenville, culminating in speeches at the local police precinct.
The event went off without a hitch, with hundreds demonstrating peacefully: no arrests or acts of violence took place.