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Mayor de Blasio questioned for allowing protests but not church, points to  '400 years of American racism'


'Not the same question'

Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dismissed a reporter's question about why mass protests are allowed in New York City while COVID-19 is still present, but the mayor aggressively cracked down on religious gatherings.

Despite social distancing guidelines, people have gathered in large numbers and close proximity across the country in protest of police brutality, including in New York City, over the death of George Floyd. De Blasio's own daughter was arrested in a protest, and he said he was "proud" of her for that.

Meanwhile, de Blasio has targeted churches and synagogues for gathering in much smaller numbers for things like funerals, even threatening at one point to shut them down permanently for disobeying his orders. So, de Blasio was asked about this apparent contradiction.

"When you see a nation, an entire nation, simultaneously grappling with an extraordinary crisis seeded in 400 years of American racism, I'm sorry, that's not the same question as the understandably grieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services," de Blasio said.

De Blasio has been criticized for a poor response to the chaos occurring in his city, where businesses are being looted and law enforcement seems unable to control the situation. De Blasio has reportedly declined to utilize the National Guard to help manage the situation.

The mayor acknowledged that the city's 11 p.m. curfew on Monday was a failure and has decided to set the curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Tuesday.

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not hold back in his criticism of de Blasio, calling his response to the crisis a "disgrace."

"The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night, I believe that," Cuomo said, according to Fox News.

Cuomo said de Blasio needs to deploy more police officers to help, and suggested that he could at some point "displace" de Blasio by sending in the National Guard. Cuomo said he doesn't want to do that right now for fear of adding more chaos to an already chaotic situation.

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