NYC protesters who held 'freedom rally' at Times Square to march in support of Kyrie Irving

Jo Rose, who was at the rally in Times Square and will attend the demonstration for Irving, told Fox News they will start at Commodore Battery Park and march to the Barclays Center ahead of the opening game for the Nets. Irving is not eligible to play home games in Brooklyn because of a New York City mandate. 

One of the organizers, John Matland, told Fox News he anticipates several thousand attendees. 

NYC Rally

NYC Rally (John Matland)

Matland described the burgeoning movement as a “widely diverse group” united under the goal of stopping what they regard as an infringement on their personal liberties. 

Nearly 1,000 people converged on Times Square last Saturday for a “Broadway Rally for Freedom” to protest the city’s draconian vaccine mandate. 

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Participants carried signs reading “No mandates … My Body, My Choice” and another demanding “equal rights for vaxxed” and “unvaxxed.” 

Speakers included vaccine skeptic, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy. 

“We have no business giving this to little children,” Kennedy told the crowd. “It is unethical, it is medical malpractice.” 

Facebook banned Kennedy Jr.’s Instagram page earlier this year over his posts expressing skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the game against the Boston Celtics during Round 1, Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 1, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the game against the Boston Celtics during Round 1, Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 1, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

New York City residents and visitors are required to show proof of vaccination for indoor dining, gyms and shows. 

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio touted the city as the first in the nation to take this approach. The city launched the policy – dubbed the “Key to NYC” – on Aug. 16 and began enforcing it on Sept. 13.  

Saturday’s “Broadway Rally for Freedom” came ahead of de Blasio’s Wednesday order for the city’s municipal workers to their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 29 or potentially lose their jobs. 

The rule covers 160,500 workers, of whom about 71% are partially or fully vaccinated, according to official estimates. 

Matland told Fox News that the purpose of the rallies he helps organize is to show the world, “we want our rights back, we don’t want to be treated like second-class citizens.”  

Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report

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