NEW YORK, New York — Thousands of protesters marched in New York City last weekend, rallying in Times Square to voice their opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The march was the latest in a series of such rallies that have been taking place regularly in New York City for months now, largely ignored by the corporate press.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced one of the most sweeping vaccine mandates in the country, requiring all city employees to get their first shot by Oct. 29 or be placed on unpaid leave, no exceptions. For New York police and firefighters, the deadline is Nov. 1, but the PBA, New York City’s police union, has vowed to fight the mandate.
Protesters heard from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and others, who spoke on personal liberty and limited government. Chants of “defund the media,” “freedom,” and “let’s go, Brandon,” swept through the crowd.
Over the past 18 months, New Yorkers have endured some of the strictest pandemic measures in the country, such as mask mandates, school closures, and sweeping lockdowns. The latest vaccine mandates add insult to injury for many workers who otherwise have been able to perform their duties adequately throughout the pandemic. Those workers are now faced with a choice between the vaccine or their livelihoods.
For now, protests like the one in Times Square on Saturday are likely to continue. As one demonstrator’s sign put it, “the people’s patience is wearing thin.”