Anti-fracking protesters had one of their most prominent showings to date at last year’s State of the State address, when they lined the concourse between the state Capitol and the venue for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s speech with loud, sign-wielding activists.
Don’t expect the same today, when Cuomo is scheduled to give his fourth agenda-setting address.
About a dozen large, tourism-themed displays (pictured) began popping up in the Empire State Plaza concourse on Tuesday, with various cloth-covered tables protruding well into the area that served as last year’s protester-lined walkway.
Will the booths keep the anti-fracking groups from filling the concourse again? John Armstrong, a spokesman for Frack Action and New Yorkers Against Fracking, said they had been in contact with Capitol police as late as Tuesday afternoon.
“They have been very accommodating and helpful,” Armstrong said Tuesday night. “We are confident that given the huge turnout we expect that we will ultimately have the majority of the concourse available to us and that our call for a ban on fracking will be loud and clear to Governor Cuomo and all State of the State participants.”
Anti-fracking groups and environmental organizations are busing in members from across the state to participate in the rally, with organizers promising “thousands” of protesters. They’ve been a particular thorn in Cuomo’s side for much of his first term, trailing him at numerous events upstate and in New York City.
(Also set to protest Cuomo today: pro-gun groups.)
The concourse displays are separated by region, with the area closest to the underground Capitol entrance dedicated to snowmobiling and winter sports—which Cuomo promoted with a snowmobiling trip in the Adirondacks earlier this month.