New York's mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, who failed to have the march banned, indicated that charges of incitement to riot might be brought against its organiser, Khalid Abdul Muhammed, who is known for his poisonous rhetoric against whites and Jews. Just when the march was meant to disperse on the orders of the courts, he abused the police from a microphone and told participants to "beat the hell out of them with the railing if they so much as touch you".
He continued: "If anyone attacks you, take their goddamn guns and use them. You take their nightsticks away ... and ram it up their behinds."
There was some criticism that by deploying 3,000 officers Mr Giuliani had overreacted to an event regarded by at least some who attended as a rare opportunity for young blacks to voice unity. With helicopters swooping overhead, the police mounted a veritable military operation to close it down at 4pm. Among those hurt in several clashes were five police officers.
"It was Gestapo-like tactics," Norman Siegel of the New York Civil Liberties Union said. One of those attending added: "It's not the Million Youth March, it's the Million Cop March."Reuse content