Thousands of workers and protesters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday protesting New York City's vaccine mandate that could lead to thousands of people being suspended without pay.
Many who marched in the "March for Choice" said they were not against the vaccines, but against the mandate, according to CBS 2 New York.
"This is not 'following the science,' this is like totalitarianism," retired FDNY Lt. James Finnegan told the news outlet.
Most of Finnegan's rage was directed at Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"He doesn't remember that when it started a year-and-a-half ago, we worked through it all. Ok? I got my family sick," Finnegan added.
The mandate means that currently, roughly 160,000 city workers must get at least one vaccine shot before Friday or risk going on unpaid leave.
One firefighter, Sofia Medina, decried the mandates once the protest reached city hall. "Now, [after] working after countless of emergencies — Hurricane Sandy, the snowstorms … I am under threat. We are under threat or losing our livelihood for simply retaining the choice of protecting our bodies," Medina said, according to the New York Post.
On Monday, de Blasio issued a statement defending the mandate while mentioning that contingency plans were in place to prevent interruption in services.
"Every commissioner and their team has talked through different options. Obviously," de Blasio says, "use of overtime is an example. I talked to all of the relevant commissioners in the lead up, especially the most crucial operational agencies, and every one of them said they were confident this is the right thing to do."
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