Photo Credit: Fernando Zhiminaicela / Pixabay
Nurse prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccine. (illustrative)

Thousands of New York City employees marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday in a protest against the city’s recent mandate to vaccinate against COVID-19.

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NYPD officers estimated that nearly 5,000 protesters are involved in the event, singing patriotic songs, chanting the Pledge of Allegiance and waving picket signs with various slogans insisting they should not be forced to choose between the vaccine and their jobs.

NYC Mandates COVID-19 Vaccine for All City Workers, $500 Incentive for First Dose

The protest closed the Brooklyn Bridge to vehicular traffic. During a similar demonstration on Sunday, protesters tried to storm the doors at Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, not far from the Brooklyn Bridge.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the vaccination mandate for all city workers on October 20, but tried to sweeten the deal with a limited-time $500 incentive in the paychecks of those getting their first shot.

The $500 benefit is scheduled to end however at 5pm on Friday, October 29th, by which point city employees are required to have proof of at least one dose.

Those who choose not to vaccinate will not be allowed on the job starting Monday, Nov 1.

The protesters are demanding the city lift the mandate.

The anti-mandate protest ended in a rally in front of New York City Hall, on the Manhattan side of the bridge.

Nearly 50,000 city employees have yet to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.