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De Blasio: ‘There will be consequences,’ vows order after Orthodox unrest

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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

Amidst a coronavirus cluster explosion in several New York City zip codes, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed not to tolerate violent unrest over the state’s new series of coronavirus restrictions.

In a press briefing Wednesday morning – after Hasidic protesters in Brooklyn set a fire and attacked a photographer overnight Tuesday – de Blasio made his point very clear.

“The NYPD will not tolerate people doing harm to others. There will be no tolerance for setting fires, said de Blasio. “If anyone commits an act of assault, of course, there will be consequences.”

Despite the night of unrest, the NYPD reported no arrests made or summonses issued at the demonstration in the Hasidic enclave of Borough Park, packed with unmasked men, according to the New York Post.

The incident came shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new series of restrictions for large sections of Brooklyn and Queens that are experiencing COVID-19 spikes, including the closure of non-essential businesses and capacity restriction on houses of worship.

Since the coronavirus began tearing its way through the city last March, several precautions have remained in place, including a New York state mask mandate and shutdown of businesses and schools. But, as the virus began to subside, businesses and schools were allowed to reopen.

That is, until the virus made a comeback in several Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, many of which are home to large Orthodox Jewish populations, according to the Post.

Over the last several months, de Blasio and Cuomo have been at odds regarding the handling of the situation, Cuomo claiming that the mayor has not done nearly enough to contain the virus.

In a briefing of his own Wednesday, Cuomo said the second wave of shutdowns wouldn’t have been necessary if all communities followed the rules in place and local leaders enforced them.

“To the extent there are communities that are upset, that’s because they hadn’t been following the original rules. And that’s why the infection spread because they weren’t following the rules,” he said. “And the rules weren’t being enforced. The rules weren’t being enforced because the communities didn’t want to follow them.”