Orthodox Jews held a massive protest in Brooklyn on Wednesday night, rallying against COVID-19 restrictions enacted by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) while also showing strong support for President Donald Trump by holding a rally.
On Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed new shutdowns of all nonessential businesses and schools in nine ZIP codes in an effort to tackle the rising number of coronavirus cases. On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the "Cluster Action Initiative" to "address COVID-19 hot spots that have cropped up in Brooklyn, Queens, and Broome, Orange and Rockland counties."
The order introduces new restrictions in areas "with the highest concentration of COVID cases and the surrounding communities." The governor's initiative does not take into account hospitalizations from COVID-19 or coronavirus-related deaths. There were eight COVID-19 deaths in all of New York state on Tuesday, according to Cuomo.
There are three threat levels, the highest being the "Red Zone," which triggers major restrictions:
- Houses of Worship: 25% capacity, 10 people maximum
- Mass Gatherings: Prohibited
- Businesses: Only essential businesses open
- Dining: Takeout only
- Schools: Closed, remote only
The new restrictions go into effect for a minimum of 14 days.
In the hotspot ZIP codes the positivity rate is 5.1%. We are taking quick action to respond to the clusters & stop… https://t.co/FbFG7tVrRm— Andrew Cuomo (@Andrew Cuomo)1602088173.0
Areas that have large populations of Orthodox Jews were declared to be a Red Zone by Cuomo, shutting down businesses and schools, plus heavily restricting places of worship. Hundreds of Orthodox Jewish demonstrators gathered in Brooklyn on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the draconian measures.
Demonstrators, who were mostly maskless and not practicing social distancing, burned a pile of face masks on Tuesday.
Demonstrators argued that their community is being unfairly punished, pointing out the hypocrisy of Cuomo and de Blasio being supportive of Black Lives Matter protests with thousands of people while also shutting down schools and businesses.
Protest organizer Sammy Gross said the protest was to expose the double standard.
"The hypocrisy that's going on here. People can go rioting, looting, but they're singling out our community when people want to go to our houses of worship. That's wrong," Gross said of the Jewish community's message to Cuomo.
One protester told Daily Caller reporter Jorge Ventura that Cuomo and de Blasio "want to destroy" the Orthodox Jews' freedom of religion.
Another demonstrator said, "Let's be very clear, the most important thing for us is our children's' education."
"There will be civil disobedience," one man proclaimed. "Because that is our right."
Spoke to Sammy a #Brooklyn local who says the new lockdown restrictions by Gov. Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio targets t… https://t.co/TISdU0Bqal— Jorge Ventura Media (@Jorge Ventura Media)1602123729.0
"They want to destroy our freedom of religion" Jewish protester criticizes NY Gov. Cuomo and #NYC Mayor Del Blasio… https://t.co/fii7xNQOT3— Jorge Ventura Media (@Jorge Ventura Media)1602143129.0
"Our education is the most important thing we cannot have our kids home" says Mendy, Jewish protester on new lockdo… https://t.co/l6iAz8557L— Jorge Ventura Media (@Jorge Ventura Media)1602144393.0
"There will be civil disobedience because that's our right" says #Brooklyn local, Jewish protester on new lockdown… https://t.co/HbB7E556Oq— Jorge Ventura Media (@Jorge Ventura Media)1602147371.0
There was also a festive pro-Trump rally where people wore Trump face masks, and waved "TRUMP 2020" flags as they sang and danced.
Heshy Fried claimed that the area was being targeted by Cuomo because of its support of President Donald Trump.
"The real reason, what's going on, is that this is Trump country,' said Fried. "All the areas they are trying to close down ... are like 90% voting for Trump. It's political and everybody knows it."
Here is the current scene in #Brooklyn , Jewish community set to march to protest Gov.Andrew Cuomo and Mayor De Bla… https://t.co/qlJXxNQfkG— Jorge Ventura Media (@Jorge Ventura Media)1602119915.0
Last night in Brooklyn https://t.co/QsHOUvBxGp— Daily Caller (@Daily Caller)1602175127.0
There was a protest led by Heshy Tischler, "a talk radio host and candidate for Brooklyn City Council known for his outspoken opposition to wearing face masks," according to Newsweek.
"I'm going to take these children, these soldiers, these future leaders. These are my people," Tischler told the crowd. "We're going to create an army. We are at war with you, Mr. de Blasio. Here is my army. We are at war! You are my soldiers!"
At one point, Tischler reportedly cornered journalist Jacob Kornbluh, the national political reporter for the Jewish Insider, for covering the event.
Kornbluh, who is a Hasidic Jew, claimed that he "brutally assaulted" by the crowd.
"I was just brutally assaulted, hit in the head, and kicked at by an angry crowd of hundreds of community members of the Boro Park protest — while yelling at me 'Nazi' and 'Hitler' —after Heshy Tischler recognized me and ordered the crowd to chase me down the street."
Video shows the mob shouting at Kornbluh, calling him a "moyser," which means "snitch."
Here’s Heschy egging then on. “He’s lucky time be alive,” one of the protesters told me after. A few yards away,… https://t.co/gFFvJBblV7— Jake Offenhartz (@Jake Offenhartz)1602124113.0