Thousands Gather for Rally and Vigil Against Vaccine Mandates in NYC

MANHATTAN, New York—The latest protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates in New York City took place on Saturday afternoon at Central Park.

It was the most organized of all the protests so far, with coffee and food stands, live music, and a candlelight vigil at the terminal of their march.

Police were also more organized, with at least 250 NYPD officers and roughly 100 police motored vehicles involved, monitoring entries to the rally and directing the crowd.

Fencing had been erected at the gathering point of the protest, and sergeants worked to move people, stopping protesters from sitting on benches (except for senior citizens) and limiting access to other walkways.

From noon to 1 p.m., the crowd was limited in size, but by 3:30 p.m., an estimated crowd size of a few thousand people had gathered.

Firefighter Matt Connor with “Bravest for Choice” said that his decision to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates began after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his ‘Key to NYC‘ campaign in August. Connor said he has since seen coercion and divisiveness cast down upon the great New York City.

FDNY firefighter Mike Connor speaks at anti vaccine mandate in Manhattan, New York. on Nov. 21, 2021. (Enrico Trigoso/The Epoch Times)

“Its effects can be felt in our everyday interactions as New Yorkers, and I, for one, miss the way things were,” he told the crowd.

“Liberty itself is an ideal at stake. The indiscriminate mandate of pharmaceutical injections, without regard for informed consent, is as far from liberty as I can imagine. It has no place on our shores.”

Connor has worked for more than 16 years as a fireman serving New York City, and was emotional when giving his speech.

“Now, I face a mandated pharmaceutical injection without my consent as a … term of my continued employment. This is particularly insulting to me.

“The first responders [of] this city stepped up, we were there for you,” he said of his work throughout the early stages of the pandemic when there was no vaccine available. “And I know you’re here for us,” he said.

Kevin Jenkins, who’s views have been labeled in some media reports as “disinformation,” also spoke at the protest.

“I was showing something about the Nuremberg Code yesterday on my Instagram page,” he said. “And guess what they said—it was misinformation.”

“Now, I guess I’m standing up here as a black man saying we should fight for our flag, fight for freedom, fight for our family, fight for our country. I guess they [sic] gonna say I’m a white supremacist,” he said of the media.

Another speaker was Att. Trisha Lindsey.

“If we don’t continue this fight, civil rights and constitutional rights will be a thing of the past. It will be as if it never existed in this country. We have to continue to fight, we have to continue to push,” she said.

The boisterous crowd then marched for about 60 blocks well into the night up to Foley Square where they held a candlelight vigil, and sang songs celebrating unity and freedom.

“We The People, will not comply!” and “Wake up, New York!” were their slogans.

Many passersby were impressed at the size of the march. They stood by, watched, recorded, while a few others occasionally shouted negative words towards them.

Enrico Trigoso


Enrico Trigoso is an Epoch Times reporter focusing on the NYC area.

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