BROOKLYN - Demonstrators donned black robes, chanted and held signs Thursday at a downtown promenade in protest of judges apparently using public space as a private parking lot.

According to the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, the judges park in the promenade area at Joralemon Street and Boerum Place before heading to court nearby. The group believes that judges can just as easily park in garages.

"We don't need to subsidize their driving with our public space," said Wiley Norvell, of Transportation Alternatives. "We don't need to give up our parks as parking lots."

However, an administrative judge counters that the practice has been taking place for decades, and he said that parking farther away poses a safety issue. "The protection that you need with people coming out from the courthouse to the parking lot is very important for a judge being threatened," said Abraham Gerges.

The judges reportedly threatened to sue the city after the Department of Parks and Recreation started hinting that it wants to reclaim the promenade for the public.