Sunday, November 21, 2010

Veterans Protest Mercer Hotel

Veterans-Sidewalk Vendors Protest Unfair Treatment By Mercer Hotel in SoHo, NYC

Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and activists gathered outside the Mercer Hotel in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan to protest what they call unfair treatment by the hotel's management.

Some veterans earn a living by working as sidewalk vendors, selling arts and crafts from tables along the historic streets of SoHo, much like the way artists do in Montmartre in Paris.

The artistic tradition and tourist attraction in the chic neighborhood of Manhattan's SoHo is drawing the ill will of management of the Mercer Hotel, some veterans and activists say. At noon on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, over a dozen veterans and activists turned up to protest what they call the Mercer Hotel's hostile treatment of veterans. Among the protesters was New York City artist and political blogger Suzannah B. Troy.

Veterans and activists were protesting what they allege is the practice of Michael Rawson, the manager of the Mercer Hotel, who calls the police to ticket or arrest veteran and art vendors.

During the protest, Ms. Troy cited an example of how the Mercer Hotel has questionably used the loading and unloading zone along Mercer Street for what has been alleged to be private or valet parking. Veterans and activists question why the Mercer Hotel harasses U.S. Veterans ; meanwhile, the hotel might be breaking traffic laws by misusing the loading zone along Mercer Street.

During the planned 20 minute protest on Saturday, police showed up in the final two minutes of the demonstration, blowing an unnecessary siren and trying to disperse the already-concluding protest.

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