Julie Marsh; The New York Post; February 21, 2017
A Manhattan judge has reined in aggressive activists protesting the Central Park horse-carriage industry, ordering them to stop terrorizing tourists or risk jail time.
“The horse-carriage trade is a lawful business and an iconic part of the Manhattan landscape,” state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron wrote in a ruling released Tuesday.
Carriage operator Central Park Sightseeing had sued to try to tame “extremist animal-rights organizations” including New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS), last year.
The operator asked the judge to bar protesters from disrupting its business.
Engoron said he’s a “free-speech absolutist” but “the content of speech is not at issue here; the manner of delivery is.”
The judge cites video evidence of “in-your-face shouting; yelling at patrons sitting in carriages; thrusting literature at people who have declined it; and accosting people and then persisting after it is clear they do not wish further involvement.”
The judge said the activists were harassing “elderly couples that look like they are from Des Moines or Dubuque…who probably thought that, worst case scenario, they would be subject to a horse urinating or defecating in their presence.”
Instead, the out-of-towners faced protesters “angrily hurling epithets” like “you just told your daughter it’s okay to abuse animals” and “good luck with your selfish lives,” the judge wrote.
The protesters want to put an end to the industry, claiming carriage operators mistreat their horses.
The order prevents the activists from “physically blocking, impeding or obstructing any persons from seeking or taking…a lawful horse-carriage ride” in Central Park.
It also bars touching, pushing or shoving riders, drivers or their horses as well as shouting at them or handling out literature while rides are under way.
People violating the judge’s directive face potential jail time or fines.
Read the original article here.