[Video below.] Mayoral candidate and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was arrested this morning while protesting the potential closure of two Brooklyn hospitals-L.I.C.H. and Interfaith Medical Center.
Mr. de Blasio, along with other protesters, refused to leave the sidewalk outside the CUNY Chancellor’s Office on West 42nd Street, chanting “Hell no! We won’t go!” as police circled in. “No peace, no hospital!” they repeatedly yelled.
“Taking a stand to keep community hospitals in New York City open. RT if you’re united to #SaveLICH,” Mr. de Blasio’s campaign tweeted, along with a grainy photo of his arrest shortly after 11 a.m.
As he was being led away by police with his hands secured behind his back with zip-ties, a bystander yelled, “Yeah Bill, you’ve got my vote.”
The hospital closures have aroused passionate local opposition from community members, and accordingly, several other mayoral hopefuls, including City Comptroller John Liu and former Congressman Anthony Weiner, also joined today’s protest. But the only politicians arrested in in front of the SUNY Chancellor’s Office were Mr. de Blasio and Brooklyn Councilman Steve Levin, spokespersons for both men confirmed.
“[They] were both arrested because they, along with other nurses and 1199 members, refused to leave the SUNY premises-the sidewalk in front of SUNY,” Levin spokesman Matt Ojala told Politicker. “So the police took them away. It’s an act of protest against an unjust decision by SUNY.”
The duo were among 16 carted off to a nearby Midtown precinct, according to de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell. Police said they had no information yet on the arrests.
Mr. de Blasio has been arrested at least once before while protesting firehouse closures with actor Steve Buscemi. And today’s events appear to have been planned. Earlier in the morning. Politicker overheard Mr. Liu whisper to Mr. de Blasio: “I heard you’re going to get cuffed today.” Mr. de Blasio only smiled.
You can watch video of Mr. de Basio being arrested here: