On Halloween 1989, more than 100 Gay Activists from ACT UP showed up at Trump Tower at 5th Avenue and 56th Street in Manhattan protesting NYC’s tax breaks for luxury real estate developers while thousands of people with HIV/AIDS went homeless.
One protester, dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz, held a sign that read: “Surrender Donald”. ACT UP was fighting the good fight against government indifference and corporate greed. They saw Trump for what he was: a monster making money off of other’s misery. He had received a $6.2 million tax abatement to construct his golden tower.
ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power), had been formed two-and-a-half years before, out of anger over the inadequate local, state, and federal government responses to the rising numbers of HIV/AIDS cases and deaths. The group was noted for their disruptive, theatrical, humorous, bold demonstrations, demanding expanded and faster drug research, affordable medications, and greater AIDS education. The Trump Tower protest was organized by ACT UP’s Housing Committee, which hoped to draw attention to the lack of housing for people with HIV/AIDS.
In the pouring rain, protesters carried handmade signs: “Silence = Death”, “In NYC 10,000 Homeless PWAs, 64 Beds”, “Money For AIDS Not For Malls”. They hung a banner across 56th street from Trump Tower saying: “10,000 Homeless With AIDS”.
ACT UP activists passed out fliers that said: “New York Tricked Out Of AIDS Care, Trump Treated To Tax Abatements!”. One wore a vampire costume and held a sign depicting Trump as Nightmare On Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger, with the words: “Nightmare On Trump Street”. Many wore masks featuring Trump with his lips pursed. Eventually some protesters went inside Trump Tower where they threw fliers from the escalators, eluding the security guards. Before it was over, the NYPD had arrested six people for illegal trespass, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.
Trump Tower remains a focal point for The Resistance, with almost daily protests in front of the building.