POLICE RIOT of 88′ at Tompkins Sq Park & Indian Wedding honoring HARE KRISHNA TREE

DSC07397Amidst the amplified screams coming from the microphone of one of the Thrash bands that played at the weekend memorial to remember the Tompkins Square park Riots between Police and “skinheads” back August 6 & 7th of 1988, where a group of homeless youth took over the park. Manhattan Community Board 3 decided to make a 1 am curfew. On July 31, a protest rally against the curfew saw several clashes between protesters and police. Another rally was held on August 6th where police charged a crowd of protestors which ensued a riot. Bystanders, activists, police officers, neighborhood residents and journalists were all caught up in the violence. Despite intermittent lulls in the violence, the mayhem continued into the next day 0600. Over 100 complaints of police brutality were lodged after the riot. The commander of the Precinct in charge was dismissed of duty for 1 year.

In an article entitled, “Yes, a Police Riot“, The New York Times commended Commissioner Benjamin Ward and the New York City Police Department for their candor in a report that confirmed what ubiquitous media images made clear: the NYPD were responsible for inciting a riot. – Wikipedia

Beginning on Friday, crowds gathered to commemorate the riot by “camping” in the park overnight while bands played during the day.

On Saturday I went to shoot some photographs on this weekend which also commemorated the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Japan where hundreds of thousands of innocent lives were lost. DSC07370DSC07374DSC07371DSC07373

Paul DeRienzo, the Event organizer for the Police Riot anniversary who is also the creator of a documentary about the riots called, Battle of Tompkins Square Park,  was also one of the speakers. Paul was present at the original Tompkins Square park Riots and spoke about what it was like back then. Info on his doc can be found at, http://pdr.autono.net/tsp.html

The events FB page called for a campout which many participated in on Friday night in protest to the Police “Sniper” Tower, which has since been removed, the organizers feel the “odious anti-homeless atmosphere” brought on by the NY Post continues to bring about disrespect.

From the Facebook page, “These people, these citizens and human beings that the NY Post has the arrogant nerve to slander and slur as “bums,” are just trying to make a life. We live in a city where billionaires are allowed to park and hide their illegally gotten gains by buying no show real estate built at the expense of the people. The reason the rent is “too damn high” is because the real “bums” like Trump, his SIL Jared Kushner, and their bought and paid for political protectors like Shelly Silver have been allowed to run over our backs with cleats.DSC07468DSC07471Then, out of the crowd came a Newly Married couple from India celebrating their wedding by honoring the Krishna Das Tree that stood tall like a Huge umbrella shading the event at Tompkins Square Park.

From the Parks Dept site; the Hare Krishna religion. After coming to the United States in September, 1965, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896–1977), the Indian spiritual leader, founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in New York. He worked from a storefront on nearby Second Avenue that he used as the Society’s American headquarters. Prabhupada and his disciples gathered in Tompkins Square Park in the fall of 1966 to introduce the East Village to the group’s distinctive 16-word mantra:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

On October 9, 1966, Prabhupada and his followers sat beneath this tree and held the first outdoor chanting session outside of India. Participants chanted for two hours as they danced and played cymbals, tambourines, and other percussive instruments; the event is recognized as the founding of the Hare Krishna religion in the United  StatesDSC07394 DSC07381The couple dropped rose pedals around the Krishna Das Tree with the “attendees” of the Riot commemoration sitting by. One “Thrash” guy took up his mandolin and began playing a hard rock version of the Wedding march, complete with a fast riff, for the couple who then threw rose pedals on him when he was finished. The couple attracted many photographers and the screaming of the thrash band and attendees in the background created an interesting yet, beautiful contrast. DSC07387DSC07398DSC07403The couple then, spelled out the words “THANK YOU” at the base of the tree, then took up the pedals and tossed them into the air in accordance with Indian tradition.DSC07411DSC07414The groom then shared with me the history of the Hare Krishna Tree and why they came to say Thank You to it today, “This tree is very special to us”, he said,”it’s where Hare Krishna started chanting in the west 49 years ago today. It’s a very beautiful philospohy that’s changed our lives. It’s given us a reality which gives us a window into the Spiritual world, it makes us very happy”. The short video will be available on my Youtube Channel,, APRIL WATTERS. PLEASE check it out. Small Donations are Welcome 🙂

DSC07368 DSC07440DSC07435A band called, The Blame was a part of the festivities who played some of their Anti establishment songs one called “You Reap What you Sow” and “Break down the Walls”, with Lyrics saying;

Break down the walls
Every dog will have his fucking day
Break down the walls
Live free or die today

Take a look how you’re living
you got debt from now to eternity
A false sense of freedom
and no rights to your own privacy

Time for a revolution
so a child no longer starves to death
Time for a revolution
so every human has a home

Another song called


They take your rights, in the name of liberty
they stop and search you as they please
while they say that you are free

You’re free to work, you’re free to buy and spend
free to make the fat man richer
while your bills never end

It’s a violation of my mind – to tell me that I’m free
Violation of my mind – that I’m not to disagree
Violation of my mind – to tell me what I see
cause I see the through the fear and lie’s
and it’s a violation of my mind

While the people tore apart the cardboard Police Watch Tower and began kicking it around while moshing. Apparently they had just removed a “real” police watch tower that had been in the park that the people had taken issue with so they took their frustration out on the cardboard one. DSC07424DSC07453DSC07460

Priya Reddy, an activist and event organizer for the Anarchist Film Festival, spoke and started off talking about the previous nights GOP and that it was like “Talks at the Insane Asylum”, something to that effect. Priya was not surprised the GOP was put on by FOX “news” , “No mention of global warming which scientists say is now as big a threat as nuclear war”. Priya then reminded people to come out the next say, Sunday, for the 1 year anniversary of Ferguson and the killing of Mike Brown at Union Sq at 4pm. She talked about “White Supremist Terror  in America, lynching, burning people alive, it makes ISIS look like a play school joke. The Black Lives Matter Movement is the rise of another Civil Rights Movement”.DSC07462DSC07448DSC07419

Cat April Watters

Author: Cat April Watters

On a Truth Diet! Purging myself of all the LIES from Society.