By Aaron Adler
Two members of Housing Works, a New York-based healthcare and AIDS advocate group, climbed two 40 foot flagpoles at the southern end of City Hall Park in lower Manhattan on Wednesday around 10:45 a.m. The activists, wearing helmets and climbing gear, unfurled a 30 foot banner that read “HOUSING IS HEALTHCARE: HOUSE PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS” after quickly climbing to the top of the flagpoles without being noticed by several police officers in the vicinity.
Police quickly arrived and blocked the sidewalk and the area immediately under the flagpoles and brought in a cherrypicker to bring down the activists. Other Housing Works activists held signs and cheered on Tony Ray and the other unidentified flagpole climber from the ground.
“I am up here today because of the lack of attention to housing for people with AIDS.” said activist Tony Ray through a megaphone high above the crowd, “If people with AIDS have a safe place to live, and a place for them to refrigerate their meds, they are going to stay healthy.”
The two activists stayed on the flagpoles for around 25 minutes before they were removed peaceably by the NYPD and arrested without incident.
The civil disobedience came two days before World Aids Day, a global day of remembrance of those lost to the disease.
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