A chaotic scene unfolded Saturday morning outside a migrant center in New York City as a fight erupted among a crowd of over 400 asylum seekers, the New York Post reported.
The altercation resulted in injuries to two police officers and the arrest of two men, according to the New York Post. Eyewitnesses and city officials said the incident was triggered when a man attempted to cut into the line while holding a cup of coffee, accidentally spilling it on others, the outlet reported.
The situation quickly escalated as a physical confrontation broke out, the outlet reported. One individual allegedly punched the person who reportedly tried to cut the line, allegedly leading to a tumble and a growing melee.
“People were punching each other and fighting — a lot of people,” said Samantha Hernandez, a 27-year-old migrant from Mexico who witnessed the chaos. “I think they were desperate about the situation — it’s very bad. There’s too many people, and there’s not a lot of opportunities for us here. And [the city] treats us like animals,” Hernandez added, according to the New York Post.
In an effort to control the situation, police officers intervened, urging the crowd to disperse and, in some cases, physically moving migrants to restore order, the outlet reportedr. Both officers sustained minor injuries to their knees and faces during the scuffle and were later treated at a local hospital, according to the outlet. There were no immediate reports of injuries among the migrants involved in the fight. (RELATED:Migrant Encounters At The Southern Border Shatter Previous Record, Hitting Staggering New High)
The crowd of asylum seekers had gathered at the site hoping to gain entry and reapply for temporary housing, the New York Post noted. Many were trying to secure another month-long stay in the city, following Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams‘ 30-day cap on shelter stays. The center, located at the former St. Brigid School, is the only facility where migrants can reapply for housing, leading to long lines and growing frustration.
The NYPD confirmed that the individuals involved in the altercation were in custody, though charges had yet to be filed at the time of the report, according to the outlet. The incident underscores the ongoing challenges the city faces in managing the influx of asylum seekers and providing adequate shelter and resources.