Protesters fill the Brooklyn Bridge in fight to keep two hospitals open

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – A crowd that included health care workers, doctors, nurses, activists and politicians marched across the Brooklyn Bridge Wednesday to protest the closure of Long Island College Hospital and Interfaith Medical Center.

The protest started in the afternoon at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn with hospital supporters marching across the bridge to Foley Square in Manhattan.

Police arrests a protester during the march over the Brooklyn Bridge to save LICH and Interfaith Medical Center. (Photo/Allison Yang)

Marchers chanted, “Cuomo, Cuomo where are you!?  Fight fight fight! Health care is a human right!”

At least ten people were arrested, including employees and community advocates.

Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio was also present at the rally.  De Blasio says he has secured a restraining order that would block the closure of LICH in the interim, and is working with leaders in the Bed-Stuy community to find a financial restructuring plan that would prevent the closure of Interfaith Medical Center.  Both hospitals are slated to close this summer.

This past weekend there were reports that SUNY Downstate was attempting to lock doors and remove the remaining patients from LICH, forcing employees — who were concerned about fire code violations — to call the NYPD.

In a statement, SUNY Downstate spokesman said, “While SUNY has made it clear that it will not continue to operate LICH, as is reflected in the state-approved sustainability plan for Downstate, the hospital is not closing this weekend. No hospital in New York State can close without the approval of the Department of Health.”

Residents and local elected officials believe that closing the hospitals would leave many in northwestern Brooklyn without close access to care.

Allison Yang contributed to this report.

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