Several anti-vaccine protesters have been arrested after staging a ‘sit-in’ protest at a movie theater in New York City.
About 10 people were arrested Monday night for a protest against the city’s coronavirus vaccination mandate, according to New York Post. The situation began as a protest, but then escalated after members of the group bought tickets and then entered the AMC Empire 25 theater in Times Square.
The group objected to a New York City rule that requires children ages 5 to 11 to present proof that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to attend public events in room, according to the New York Health website. Similarly, people 12 years and older must prove that they have received two doses of vaccine to attend such events.
After buying tickets, protesters would then object to presenting proof of vaccination. They also reportedly refused to leave the theater and members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) were called to the scene, according to WNYW.
Police said even after being asked to leave the theater by the manager, protesters refused to comply with the request.
A video posted on instagram shows protesters seated in their seats talking about the vaccination mandate to officers. One person can be heard saying: ‘This is going to the Supreme Court, this is going to be closed.’
The police were seen in a video via social networks placing those arrested in a van with their arms tied behind their backs. In this same sequence, the crowd outside the theater can be heard chanting: “My body, my choice. The vaccine, you won’t force it.”
According to the AMC Empire 25 Theater webpage, proof of vaccination is required for most guests entering the venue: “Area mandates require proof of vaccination for all guests ages 5 and older. Please be prepared to show your proof of vaccination and your photo ID when you present your ticket to the ticket taker.”
In this same theater, masks are recommended for everyone. However, fully vaccinated people can remove their masks while those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must continue to wear their face coverings, according to the theater.
In a comment to Newsweekthe NYPD said, “On February 7, 2022, at approximately 6:33 p.m., inside 234 West 42nd Street (10) ‘c’ Trespassing Summonses were issued to people congregating inside the closed theater and when they were asked (by the manager) to leave, the individuals refused.”
There is also currently a vaccination mandate for those who work in New York and who “perform in-person work or interact with the public as part of their activities must prove that they have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine -19”. This requirement came into effect on December 27.
Newsweek contacted AMC Theaters for comment, but did not hear back before publication.