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Protesters try to enter Ryan's office

Jan 09, 2024 12:43 pm

Brian Hubert reports for the Daily Freeman a staff member for Rep. Pat Ryan claims protesters at a pro-Palestinian rally on Jan. 5 attempted to “forcibly enter” the congressman’s office. Protesters have been regularly asking for Ryan to support a ceasefire in the Gaza war. Dan Torres, Ryan’s deputy chief of staff and district director, said, “I saw over a dozen protesters around the door, who have masks on, and I heard walkie-talkie noises and chanting." And he saw a fellow Ryan staffer. He said, “I see half of her face through the cracked door and she’s terrified and in a state of distress..... Two of the protesters are on the door, one has their body partially in, the other had her back pushing back on the door attempting to enter the space." Torres said he calmly engaged the protesters, who talked, and occasionally chanted and yelled. Other protesters got on the building's roof and lowered banners, one with the names of some of the more than 22,000 Palestinians who have died since Hamas militants invaded Israel on Oct. 7, and another banner read, “Pat Ryan: stop the genocide” and a third stated, “90 Days, 22,000 killed.” Torres said he filed a police report, but the writer was unable to get a police comment. Ryan, a Democrat representing the 18th Congressional District, said he has “tremendous respect for people peacefully protesting,” but it was “very concerning to see his staff threatened..... The vast majority of people at Friday’s event were peacefully protesting,” he said. “Unfortunately about 20 individuals decided to enter the building and forcefully open the door.” The Daily Freeman story did not quote any protesters, but the Times Union spoke with Daniel Atonna, a member of the steering committee of the Mid-Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists of America, which helped organize the event. He said, “It was hundreds of Hudson Valley residents coming together for pro-cease-fire, pro-peace and pro-Palestine.... It is frustrating that in Congressman Ryan’s statement … he calls us a ‘crowd of people’ and accuses us of all kinds of things that just did not happen, but does not acknowledge that we’re his constituents. We’re local people from local organizations who organized this event.” The protest was organized by the Mid-Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists of America, Wednesday Walks 4 Black Lives, Jewish Voice for Peace, Middle-East Crisis Response, Mid-Hudson Islamic Community, Veterans for Peace, Vassar Students for Justice in Palestine, Poughkeepsie4Palestine and the Communist Party of the Hudson Valley. Mie Inouye, a member of the Mid-Hudson Democratic Socialists of America and one of the rally’s speakers, said, “I think civil disobedience has a long tradition on the left and in the anti-war movement. That’s one of the tactics we use.... I think it’s completely appropriate given the extremity of the violence that we’re witnessing every day.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.