The leader of an anti-lockdown protest in Brooklyn was arrested Sunday night on charges of inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment, police said according to the Associated Press (AP).
City Council candidate and activist Heshy Tischler was arrested in connection with an October 7 protest, during which a journalist was surrounded and chased out by the crowd, the AP reported. A video from the protest showed the crowd surrounding Jewish Insider reporter Jacob Kornbluh and shouting at him before forcing him out of the area.
At Heschy’s urging, the crowd just surrounded and attacked journalist @jacobkornbluh. They pinned him against a wall and shouted “moyser” (“snitch”) as NYPD lost control of the situation. Really scary scene. Jacob is a pro pic.twitter.com/783MqbzTBe
— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) October 8, 2020
Kornbluh, who had been reporting on the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park, said on Twitter that he was “brutally assaulted” by the group.
“I was just brutally assaulted, hit in the head, and kicked at by an angry crowd of hundreds of community members of the Boro Park protest — while yelling at me “Nazi” and “Hitler” — after Heshy Tischler recognized me and ordered the crowd to chase me down the street,” Kornbluh said October 7.
After Tischler’s arrest Sunday night, a crowd of people gathered outside of Kornbluh’s apartment.
They are outside his home. pic.twitter.com/fVnkaFEMgk
— Elad Nehorai (@PopChassid) October 12, 2020
Protests erupted last week after Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new coronavirus restrictions that would begin October 9 and take place in nine zip codes across Brooklyn and Queens. Orthodox Jewish leaders, including Tischler, argued that the restrictions, many of which were set to take place in largely Jewish neighborhoods, were unfairly targeting New York’s Jewish community. (RELATED: Hundreds In NYC Orthodox New York Community Protest New Coronavirus Mandates)
“It’s called civil disobedience, we can fight back,” Tischler said during the demonstration. “Do not allow them to torture you or scare you.”
Five Jewish lawmakers in New York issued a joint statement last week criticizing the new restrictions, which limit houses of worship to 10 people and close schools.
“We are appalled by Governor Cuomo’s words and actions today,” the statement from Councilman Kalman Yeger, state Sen. Simcha Felder, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, and Councilman Chaim Deutsch said. “He has chosen to pursue a scientifically and constitutionally questionable shutdown of our communities.”
Cuomo said Sunday that the lockdown measures target “cluster areas,” which he said had 17.6% of all confirmed cases last week despite having just 2.8% of New York’s population, the Associated Press reported.