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Thirteen "Robin Hoods" Arrested at World AIDS Day Wall Street Protest

December 1, 2011

Thirteen 'Robin Hoods' Arrested at World AIDS Day Wall Street Protest

Thirteen "Robin Hoods" were arrested today after blocking traffic on Broadway not far from Manhattan's Wall Street neighborhood. The arrest followed a raucous march that started in Zuccotti Park and featured people with AIDS affected by Mayor Bloomberg's cuts to AIDS services, as well as activists from Housing Works, VOCAL-NY, ACT-UP NY, Health GAP, Queerocracy as well as the Occupy Wall Street movement.

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Broadcast B-Roll available this afternoon.

"We were not afraid of Bloomberg's blue-clad Sheriffs of Nottingham today," said Charles "Robin Hood" King (in a near-perfect British accent), president and CEO of Housing Works and among those arrested. "Bloomberg opposes taxes that force the rich to pay their fare share and supports policies that rob poor New Yorkers with AIDS of income and lifesaving services, such as housing. He is a veritable scoundrel."

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In the tradition of the working-class hero of Sherwood Forest, the marchers and the 13 Robins were demanding the implementation of a Financial Transaction Tax on Wall Street and a New York State millionaires tax in order to fund the fight against AIDS here in New York and worldwide. New York City and the federal government have backed away from their commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS in dramatic ways during the past year.

"It's a lie when we're told there isn't enough money to fight AIDS," said Felix Rivera-Pitre, a VOCAL-NY leader who is living with HIV/AIDS and currently in a homeless shelter. "The reality is that Wall Street crashed our economy, and now politicians are saying there's less money for basic needs like healthcare and housing, or for keeping their promise to fund HIV/AIDS treatment overseas." Felix was arrested today for the second time in two weeks during protests related to OWS.

Mayor Bloomberg has cut more than $10 million for HIV/AIDS housing and services during the past year, plus an additional $3 million more in his November Financial Plan, while opposing the state 30% rent cap affordable housing legislation that would prevent homelessness for thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria just announced that it would not make new grants during the next two years due to broken pledges by donor governments. This unprecedented step will deny millions of people living with HIV/AIDS lifesaving treatment at a time when Secretary Clinton recently declared that it was the US government's policy to achieve an "AIDS-free generation." Activists are calling on Sen. Schumer to support a Financial Transaction Tax on Wall St. in order to generate funds that can be used to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and abroad.

The protesters are being held at the 7th Precinct on the Lower East Side.


Quotes From Arrestees and Organizers

"We were not afraid of Bloomberg's blue-clad Sheriffs of Nottingham today," said Charles "Robin Hood" King (in a near-perfect British accent), president and CEO of Housing Works and among those arrested. "Bloomberg opposes taxes that force the rich to pay their fare share and supports policies that rob poor New Yorkers with AIDS of income and lifesaving services, such as housing. He is a veritable scoundrel.

"It's a lie when we're told there isn't enough money to fight AIDS," said Felix Rivera-Pitre, a VOCAL-NY leader who is living with HIV/AIDS and currently in a homeless shelter. "The reality is that Wall Street crashed our economy, and now politicians are saying there's less money for basic needs like healthcare and housing, or for keeping their promise to fund HIV/AIDS treatment overseas." Felix was arrested today for the second time in two weeks during protests related to Occupy Wall Street.

"Science now shows we can end AIDS, and it's now US policy to have a generation free of HIV/AIDS. The government needs to implement a financial transaction tax on banks to create the necessary revenue needed to make this end of AIDS a reality," said Michael Tikili of Health GAP.

"In fat times and in lean times, Billionaire Bloomberg swings his budget ax at poor people with AIDS. This year we join forces with the 99 percent who are rising up to demand economic justice. People want to live in a society where health care, housing and support services for people with AIDS are considered a priority over bankers' investment portfolios," said Housing Works New York City Director for Policy and Organizing Kristin Goodwin.


This article was provided by Housing Works. It is a part of the publication Housing Works AIDS Issues Update. Visit Housing Works' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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