Society

NYPD To Crack Down On St. Patty's Day Demonstrations

| by Michael Howard

The New York City Police Department is determined to prevent the St. Patrick's Day Parade from mutating into an anti-President Donald Trump demonstration.

NYPD officers have been instructed to ensure that marchers in the country's largest parade celebrating the Irish holiday don't come to a halt in front of Trump Tower, according to TMZ. Nor are people allowed to watch the parade from the sidewalk in front of the building.

There are heightened security concerns as well, given that Trump's wife, Melania Trump, and youngest son, Barron Trump, currently live in Trump Tower. The Secret Service will be on high alert.

TMZ reports that the NYPD is bolstering its presence in the vicinity with over 20 additional officers.

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The Irish-American community is divided over Trump, who owns a golf course in Ireland. While the president is reportedly unpopular in Ireland, he is thought to have secured nearly half of the Irish-American vote, according to The New York Times.

"There is a deep political divide on Trump," Niall O'Dowd of The Irish Voice newspaper said. "It's a thing a lot of people don't want to talk about."

Many of the heavy hitters in Trump's administration are Irish-American, including chief strategist Steve Bannon, Vice President Mike Pence, adviser KellyAnne Conway, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

During a St. Patrick's Day event in 2016, Mike Pence made reference to his Irish heritage, saying, "I've always taken a special pride in my Irish roots."

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But many Irish-Americans see a contradiction between the administration's Irish aspect and its anti-immigration policies, considering how many Irish people risked their lives to immigrate to the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries.

"When I see these Irish names in the White House and I see what they're doing to refugees, my mind goes straight to the coffin ships [which carried Irish immigrants across the Atlantic]," Irish comedian and podcast host Maeve Higgins said. "That was us 100 years ago on the boats, drowning. What's the difference, that these people are brown and black?"

New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade -- which begins on 44th Street and moves up Fifth Avenue to 79th Street -- is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people, while millions more are expected to watch on television, according to WNBC.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated that police will observe a zero tolerance policy with respect to drunken driving and underage drinking. There will be sobriety checkpoints and ID checks in bars.

Sources: TMZ, The New York Times, WNBC / Photo credit: William Murphy/Flickr

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