New York City’s embattled mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced Thursday that the Big Apple will cancel all major events throughout September except for Black Lives Matter protests.
De Blasio, who famously slammed the city’s Hasidic community for holding a funeral for a beloved rabbi back in April, said the BLM protests are different.
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“We understand this moment in history,” he told CNN. “People are talking about the need for historic changes.” He pointed to the city’s earlier move to create a BLM mural in the shadow of Trump Towers and said. He said the city recognized the meaning and the message of Black Lives Matter.
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“This is a historic moment for change and we have to respect that,” he said. “But we also have to say to people, ‘The kinds of gatherings we’re used to, the parades, the fairs…we can’t just have that while we’re focusing on health right now.”
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De Blasio’s tone for the new protests was remarkably different than his reaction to Hasidic community when he posted on Twitter, “Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic. When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus.”
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He was criticized on social media for appearing to target one community while the city reported groups in other neighborhoods congregating at parks and other areas. He insisted that his message was a warning for everyone and said, “I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
Critics of many state and local leaders have been vocal over what they see as discrimination from city halls and statehouses. Church leaders, who have followed CDC guidelines to the letter, have received fines and summonses for opening their doors without the blessing of politicians. (A church in Chicago even faced the threat of demolition from the city.)
Politicians like de Blasio have been accused of using the coronavirus outbreak to make political gains.
“If you’re Jewish, Mayor Bill De Blasio will arrest you and throw you into prison for gathering with your family,” Benny Johnson, the chief creative officer for Turning Point USA. “If you’re Al Sharpton (a rabid, proven anti-Semite) De Blasio will let everyone take theur masks off and scream in each other’s faces. Clown.”