Anti-vaccine protesters storm AMC theater in Times Square, stage a ‘sit-in’

February 9, 2022

Several anti-vaccine protesters were arrested after conducting a “sit-in” demonstration at a movie theater in New York City on Monday night, February 7, reports Newsweek.

About ten people were taken into custody over a protest against the city’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, according to the New York Post. The situation began as a protest—but later escalated, after members of the group bought tickets and went into the AMC Empire 25 theater located in Times Square.

The group objected to a New York City rule in which children between the ages of 5 and 11 are required to present proof of having had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to attend indoor public events, per the New York Health website. Similarly, those ages 12 and older must show proof that they have had two doses of the vaccine to attend such events.

After purchasing tickets, the protesters then allegedly objected to showing proof of vaccination. They also allegedly refused to leave the theater, and members of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) were called to the scene, per WNYW.

Police said that, even after being asked to leave the theater by the manager, the protesters refused to comply with the request.

A video posted to Instagram shows the protesters sitting in their seats talking to officers about the vaccine mandate. One person can be heard saying: “This is going to the Supreme Court; this is going to get shut down.”

Police were seen in a video via social media placing those arrested in a van with their arms tied behind their back. In that same footage, the crowd outside the theater can be heard chanting: “My body, my choice. The vaccine, you won’t force.”

According to the AMC Empire 25 theater’s web page, showing proof of vaccination is required for most guests entering the venue: “Area mandates require proof of vaccination for all guests ages 5 and older. Please be prepared to show your proof of vaccination documentation and photo ID when you present your ticket to the ticket taker.”

In that same theater, masks are recommended for everyone. However, people who are fully vaccinated may remove their masks while those who are not entirely vaccinated against COVID-19 should continue wearing their face coverings, according to the theater.

In a comment to Newsweek, the NYPD said: “On February 7, 2022, at approximately 1833 hrs, inside of 234 West 42nd Street (10) “c” summonses for Trespassing were issued to individuals who were congregating inside of the closed theatre and when they were asked (by the manager) to leave, the individuals refused.”

Newsweek reached out to AMC Theatres for comment but did not hear back before publication.

Research contact: @Newsweek