Anti-capitalist vandals do $30,000 in damage to Albany holiday display

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, December 26, 2011 9:01 EDT
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Less than two days after police cracked down on Occupy Albany in a violent raid, apparently anti-capitalist vandals went after a holiday display in Washington Park put together by the Albany Police Athletic League and sponsored by a variety of local corporations.

Graffiti on the signage read “The commons are not for sale. Stop shopping” and “Happy Holidays, capitalists,” in addition to simply blacking out the names of the sponsors. The vandals also snipped extension cords and damaged 15 light displays, which required 3 electricians to repair on Christmas Eve.

The Capital Holiday Lights display, a 15-year tradition in Albany, included almost 125 light displays in the public park, for which viewers are normally asked to pay $15 per car to view. The proceeds exclusively fund the Albany Police Athletic League’s educational, athletic and recreational programs for local, disadvantaged kids in an effort to keep them safe and off the streets. The costs of the display are offset by the corporate sponsors, allowing PAL to keep the cash.

Because of the damage, people who came to view the displays on Christmas Eve — a tradition for many local families — were allowed to enter for free. Their donations totaled more than the money PAL would have expected from their entrance fees.

Watch the video, which first aired on the Albany NBC affiliate WNYT on December 25, 2011, below:

UPDATE: An Albany police spokesman told WNYT today that it was “too early to speculate” about any link to Occupy Albany, and an Occupy Albany spokesperson said that Occupy Albany does not engage in acts of vandalism.

Megan Carpentier
Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.
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