Large crowds and road closures for Poughkeepsie rally on Tuesday

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Organizers and city officials are expecting hundreds of people to descend on downtown Poughkeepsie Tuesday afternoon for the “We Can’t Breathe” protest calling for an end to violence and addressing the death of George Floyd.

Joseph Stratford and Robert Pemberton are organizing the event and have joined with several other community organizations to continue raising awareness to issues faced by the African-American community.  The men have also stressed that attendees need to maintain a peaceful presence.

Pemberton is a founder of the Stop The Violence Movement (STVM) and is planning for a peaceful, non-violent protest in Poughkeepsie.  “This is a positive event.  We’re going to show the country how to have your voice heard without burning things down!”

SVTM is planning a large scale rally in Poughkeepsie.

Protesters will be gathering at Tubman Park, also known as Hulme Park at the corner of Church and Market Streets in the early afternoon followed by a 4 p.m. start of the rally.  Pemberton has made several statements on social media discouraging violent behavior at the event.  “This is a non-violent protest.  Anyone that wants to be a bad apple can stay home,” was one piece of advice offered by the organizer.

STVM has been in talks with representatives from the City of Poughkeepsie, the city police, county officials from Dutchess and Ulster, along with public safety officials at all levels.  The New York State Police have indicated that if their presence is requested or required, they will respond.

Tentative plans call for a section of the eastbound arterial between Jefferson and Market Streets to be closed at some point during the protest that is slated to end at 8 p.m.  Organizers had originally planned to march across the Mid-Hudson Bridge but have been told that it would interfere with the ability of emergency vehicles to travel back and forth to local hospitals, which would jeopardize lives.

Mayor Rob Rolison is asking that people traveling to and from Poughkeepsie’s downtown area, do so before 2 p.m., to avoid potential traffic delays resulting from large crowds and road closures.  “We are working with our partners throughout area law enforcement to keep the entire community, including those attending the rally, safe.”

City parking lots are recommended for those attending the protest.  The municipal lots are located at:
Cannon Street lot – corner of Academy and Cannon Streets
Financial Plaza parking garage – 41 Civic Center Plaza
Garden Street lot – Entrance is on Mill Street
Liberty Street lot – 23-29 Cannon Street -located at Cannon and Liberty Streets
Main Street parking 197 Main Street, corner of Main Street and Westbound arterial