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.