Lakewood children hold protest over NY summer camps being cancelled
There were upwards of approximately 100 children marching in a protest in Lakewood on Tuesday night demanding that overnight summer camps be allowed to open.
Lakewood Police Chief Gregory Meyer told WOBM News on Wednesday morning that the group of boys were around 13-years of age and began to gather on the sidewalks and chant about how they want summer camps to open in upstate New York.
The crowd grew to about 100 boys, all from the Twin Oaks neighborhood on County Line Road, Chief Meyer said.
When the size of the crowd grew police began temporality detouring traffic to make sure everyone was safe.
"Police Captain Langenberger and Lieutenant Marshall were on scene as well as a local principal who responded and asked the boys to return home which they did after making a lap around Park Avenue on their bicycles," Chief Meyer said.
From start to finish there was nothing violent or physical at the protest.
"The entire event was a peaceful atmosphere with no incidents other than the chants," Chief Meyer said. "Our officers facilitated a safe environment for the youth and motorists in the area with little disruption to traffic and a few businesses nearby."
Children were chanting several things throughout the demonstration in Lakewood including “we want camp” and “no camps, no peace” according to a video tweet of the protest from Asbury Park Press Reporter Gustavo Martinez.
One of the children on the video said that “everybody’s spreading germs already so there’s no point in not opening camps."
The APP also reports that some of the youth in Lakewood last night chanted "Hands up! Don't Shoot!" as police were escorting them.
The Tuesday protest in Lakewood was just the latest in the area following a demonstration in New York, according to the Asbury Park Press, all over New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker's statement explaining that while summer day camps are open, overnight camps are not, according to a separate Gannett publication 'Democrat and Chronicle' based in New York.
"Overnight camps have congregate settings and sleeping arrangements in close quarters that present too many risks," Zucker said. "In such a setting, even a single positive case in a camper or staff member could create an untenable quarantine situation and overwhelm camp health personnel that may not be able to handle a serious infectious outbreak of this nature."
Dan Alexander contributed to this report.
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