Crowds of angry Orthodox Jews filled the streets of a Brooklyn neighborhood after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced strict Covid-19 restrictions that would limit occupancy in synagogues.

Protesters in Borough Park, a largely Orthodox area of Brooklyn, burned a pile of discarded masks in the middle of the road. A video posted to social media shows New York City firefighters arriving at the scene to put out the blaze. 

UPDATE: @FDNY firefighters arrive to extinguish small ‘Fire of Masks’ in Brooklyn—set by Orthodox Jews protesting synagogue closures.

The protest reportedly continued into the early hours of Wednesday, with men in traditional Orthodox costume marching through the area. 

It is 1:18 am, and the protests are going strong.Paging

Protest in Boro Park, Brooklyn with music people just marching for freedom.

Elsewhere in the city, police attempted to corral Orthodox Jews who were celebrating Sukkot, a Jewish holiday marking the autumn harvest. 

Another angle shows police trying to disperse Jewish crowds celebrating Sukkot in New York City; the officers eventually gave up and resorted to blocking the street.

The unrest comes after Cuomo declared the Orthodox neighborhood a coronavirus “red zone” and ordered local schools and ‘non-essential’ businesses to close. The targeted lockdown will also limit occupancy in houses of worship. 

In a statement, Orthodox lawmakers from the community accused Cuomo of orchestrating “a duplicitous bait-and-switch.” They claimed that Cuomo had promised them that synagogues would be permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity, only to announce hours later that houses of worship in ‘red zones’ would be limited to 10 individuals, regardless of their size.

Four men who represent parts of Brooklyn affected by @NYGovCuomo’s new restrictions — @NYSenatorFelder, @SEichenstein, @KalmanYeger and @ChaimDeutsch — said they were “appalled” by his plan and rhetoric toward Jewish communities they represent.

Community leaders have vowed to defy the order, local media reported.

Radio host and local celebrity Heshy Tischler said that he would file a court order to “hold Cuomo and the idiot [Mayor Bill] de Blasio” in contempt of a recent court ruling that blocks New York State from singling out religious gatherings when imposing coronavirus restrictions. 

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