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South Bronx Residents March, Rally Against FreshDirect's Proposed Move

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TWC News: South Bronx Residents March, Rally Against FreshDirect's Proposed Move
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The battle against online grocer FreshDirect continues, as on Saturday, South Bronx residents opposed to the online grocer's plans to move to their neighborhood marched to the proposed site and held a rally. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

It began with a march through the South Bronx to a part of Port Morris owned by the state. A portion of it has been leased to FreshDirect.

"To make our message explicitly and undeniably clear that we do not want FreshDirect in this community, we're going to come to a gate that would separate us from our public waterfront land," said Corrine Kohut, a member of the group South Bronx Unite.

It ended with several members of South Bronx Unite in handcuffs after they placed sunflowers on the gates of the property and staged a sit-in.

The arrests came at yet another public showing of opposition to online grocer FreshDirect's proposed move to the Harlem River Yards.

South Bronx Unite is a coalition made up of concerned citizens and clergy members who have long disputed FreshDirect's claim that they will pay workers living wage and say the move here would be detrimental to the community.

"This community has five times the rates of asthma of any other community," said Raymond Rivera of the Latino Pastoral Action Center. "The toxicity, the toxic trucks that are going to come in here, the fumes, are just going to perpetuate that asthma rate."

This isn't the first time that this group has gathered to express their opposition to the online grocer moving into the Bronx, but it is the first time that they're doing it during a new administration.

The group wants Mayor Bill de Blasio to reverse course on the deal struck by the Bloomberg administration. They are asking for another environmental review to be done, even though a judge ruled against that.

"Now, we have a new administration that we are asking to drop its opposition to our environmental lawsuit against the city and against the company," Kohut said.

As public advocate, de Blasio spoke out against the agreement, which came with some hefty public subsidies. However, it's unclear if he would even be able to stop the deal at this point.

The protesters, meanwhile, say that they won't stop their fight.

"We won't leave till we can breathe," said one protester.

Even if it lands them in jail to make their point.

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