Despite arrest, anti-vax mandate protesters declare victory after sit-in forces NYC eatery to close

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Numerous rowdy protesters staged a sit-in protest at a Times Square Olive Garden restaurant in New York City against the city’s vaccine mandate and were arrested Friday night while proclaiming that this is the new “civil rights movement” as the NYPD swarmed the scene.

“Wake up New York! Wake the f*** up!,” one protester yelled while being shuffled into a police van in Times Square.

“I got arrested. They arrested me for trying to eat at Olive Garden, that’s what happened,” another protester asserted, claiming that his civil rights were violated.

A number of videos on social media show the protest taking place. The participants refused to leave and were subsequently taken into custody.

“This is the civil rights movement again!” one man shouted as he was being handcuffed and hauled away. That scene was caught on a video from independent journalist @ScooterCasterNY.

Another video filmed inside the restaurant shows protesters chanting “USA!” and singing the national anthem just before they were arrested.

The New York Post is reporting that four people were arrested. Currently, the NYPD is not commenting on those taken into custody. There were no reports of vandalism or violence during the protest. Three men and a woman were expected to be charged with trespassing, according to officials. Their names have not been released.

New York City requires proof of vaccination to enter and dine at a restaurant.

The protesters were inside the Olive Garden for approximately two hours. The restaurant management eventually closed early due to the spectacle. They typically stay open until midnight. The protest ended around 10:40 p.m.

Protesters were confronted by officers in the restaurant’s bar area after refusing to show proof of vaccination.

“Activists against mandates attempt to dine in at Olive Garden in NYC and were refused service. The NYPD shut down the Restaurant due to safety issues and not to arrest anyone in Manhattan. Activists are now sitting at the bar #nyc #VaccinePassports #VaccineMandate,” independent photographer Leeroy Johnson tweeted.

The group was told by the police that they had to leave or would be arrested. Many left voluntarily, but a number of them chose the latter option.

“#Breakingnew Multiple protesters against mandates were just arrested at Olive Garden in NYC that’s for the vaxxed only, Activists attempt to order food and were refused service. The #NYPD was called and told them to leave or they will be arrested. #VaccinePassports #Friday,” Johnson tweeted.

“‘Victorious, we shut them down’ – anti-mandate protesters occupied the Olive Garden in Times Square for 2 hours. After two hours, instead of being arrested, the business decided to stop operation for the night and closed.,” Scootercaster tweeted said just before the police descended on everyone.

As the protesters were arrested, others reportedly used profane language to insult and heckle the police officers involved. A member of the group played “F*** The Police” by NWA on a loudspeaker.

Other anti-vaxx protests have been held at the Cheesecake Factory in Queens and at a Burger King in Brooklyn.

The protesters are finding a great deal of support online for taking a stand against vaccine and mask mandates:

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