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.”
“So I suggest [to] all of you, we put aside our political differences—Republicans, conservatives, Democrats, liberals, progressives, independents, Libertarians—and join together in solidarity. Because we are America, the land of the free, where choice is given to the citizens. We trust the people, not the politicians!” he shouted toward the conclusion of his speech.
Other featured speakers were NYC Council Minority Whip Joe Borelli and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s son, Andrew Giuliani, who earlier this year announced he will be running for New York governor in 2022.
The Epoch Times asked Giuliani his opinion on the vaccine mandate and how it could be implemented.
“I think that’s the real tricky part of all of this,” Giuliani said. “You are now forcing these restaurants that have been really crushed over the last 17 months to now have to try to find more people to hire when they’re already understaffed.”
Some small businesses and a group of NYC officials protested against the mandate shortly after it was announced, saying it will severely affect their operations.
“Do I think that they really thought through this? Absolutely not.”
In regard to government overreach in terms of the vaccine mandates, Giuliani said: “If you look at the Constitution, the 14th Amendment, the due process of laws, I think it protects our individual right, whether or not we want to vaccinate ourselves or not.”
“I want to be very clear. I think every single person, their family, and their doctor should strongly consider [vaccination]. I’m not saying, ‘don’t get vaccinated,’ but, I think the government should not be involved in that process,” Giuliani said.