MANHATTAN, New York—Around 300 people and GOP leaders gathered on Sunday afternoon, including Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa and Rudy Giuliani’s son, Andrew Giuliani, to protest against Democrat New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate.
Mayor de Blasio recently announced a vaccine pass mandate for restaurants, gyms, and performances in the city that will be enforced on Sept. 13 with fines of $1,000 or more. An executive order to this aim was issued Monday and will take effect on Tuesday.
The event took place a block away from Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the New York mayor.
The event’s flyer had hammer and sickle symbols photoshopped onto photos of the mansion and the mayor. Sliwa also called the mayor “comrade Bill de Blasio” during his speech, highlighting the Marxist influences on the current mayor.
The Epoch Times reached out to the mayor’s office for comment.
Some of the attendees held signs that condemned mandatory vaccination, and others showed their strong suspicion toward big pharmaceutical corporations as well as the vaccines themselves.
Before the speeches, the national anthem was played as several American flags waved, then loud chants saying “USA! USA!” resonated near Gracie Mansion.
Sliwa, founder of the neighborhood watch group The Guardian Angels, then started speaking after a brief introduction.
“We know whether it’s Pfizer, or Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson that gets the first FDA approval, it will no longer be [a] choice in the workforce. They’ll tell you, ‘you either get vaccinated or you’re fired,’ or ‘stay home,’ ‘don’t show up at work,’” Sliwa said amid cheers from the crowd.
“And who does that hurt?” Sliwa asked rhetorically. “All the working-class men and women who’ve been forced out of their jobs during the pandemic, but especially people of color, black people, Hispanic people who have a lower vaccination rate. I think we all can agree here—we’d like to see people vaccinated, if they want to get vaccinated.”