Breaking: HIV Activists Are Shutting Down United Nations Traffic Right Now in Protest

People with HIV and their allies plan to shut down traffic outside the United Nations tonight in protest, calling on President Obama and other world leaders to back a so-called Robin Hood Tax, which they say would raise much needed resources for ending the HIV epidemic.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

September 17 2013 6:24 PM ET

At the end of the opening day of a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City that was focused on poverty and public health, HIV and AIDS activists and allies gathered to bring traffic outside to a halt to draw attention to the millions of people who "lack access to lifesaving treatment because wealthy countries are cutting back on funding."

Fittingly, on the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, the protesters are demanding that President Obama and other world leaders back a financial transaction tax, also known as a “Robin Hood Tax,” to generate revenue that can fund universal access to HIV treatment, care, and prevention.

There was a brief rally outside the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the U.N. right now, then activists hope to block rush hour traffic on New York's Second Avenue and E. 47th St. Organizers say they expect the rally to draw thousands of people, with over 200 local organizations participating. State Senator Brad Hoylman will participate in the civil disobedience. 
 
Groups organizing the rally and march include: VOCAL-NY, National Nurses United, Health GAP, National People’s Action, New York State Nurses Association, Amalgamated Transit Union, Transport Workers Union – Local 100, UNITE HERE – Local 100, IBEW Local 3 and many others. See the full list, visit the event's Facebook page.

They say this will be the largest New York City event marking the two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and will be followed by a march through Midtown Manhattan highlighting the different ways revenue from a financial transaction tax could be invested — beyond HIV care and prevention — including addressing climate change, healthcare, higher education and public transit needs. 

The march is sponsored by the U.S. Robin Hood Tax Campaign, comprised of organizations with millions of members across the country. The group is urging Congress and President Obama to pass H.R. 1579, the Inclusive Prosperity Act, a financial transaction tax legislation that will bring $350 billion a year in new revenue to communities that never received a recovery that was promised when tax dollars bailed out Wall Street five years ago.  

Tags: Activism

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