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Orthodox Jewish Activist Heshy Tischler Arraigned, Vows To 'Continue Our Fight' Against COVID-19 Crackdown In Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The anger among some in the Jewish Orthodox community boiled over onto the streets a week ago when Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed for COVID-19 enforcement in the city's cluster zones.

Many of those demonstrations were led by community activist Heshy Tischler, who was arrested Sunday night. More protests against the new cluster restrictions are planned.

MORE: Court Upholds Restrictions On Houses Of Worship In COVID-19 Hot Spots

Tischler left the Brooklyn courthouse quietly Monday following his virtual arraignment on charges of inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment stemming from an attack on journalist Jacob Kornbluh, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported.

However, he had plenty to say after in front of a mostly maskless crowd.

"We are going to continue our fight. We are going to beat Mayor de Blasio. We're going to knock that Cuomo out, right?" Tischler said.

Earlier, Tischler's attorney, Mindy Meyer, objected to the arrest.

"He's being treated as if it's a felony case," Meyer said. "He was still in his holiday clothes coming from synagogue and he was arrested. It was uncalled for. It was completely politically motivated."


In a statement, Kornbluh thanked the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office and the NYPD.

But that arrest caused even more frustration as demonstrators showed up to Kornbluh's Borough Park home.

Since Friday, the city says it has issued more than $172,000 in fines, including five summonses for non-compliance at religious congregations.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said enforcement needs to be done with precision.

"It sends the wrong message, that even when you follow the rules, we're going to penalize you also and close down your establishment. That's just the wrong way to solve this problem," Adams said.

"The Jewish community, not just Borough Park, is so upset, angry, at the anti-Semitism that the governor is causing throughout the state of New York. The governor continues to pick specifically the Jewish community in terms of the outbreak of corona," activist Dov Hikind said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for his part, said it's not about targeting any one group.

"I understand the cultural differences and the religious differences, but I also understand death is death," he said.

Cuomo said the COVID-19 infection rate in cluster areas was lower Sunday compared to last week, but while the Red Zone areas have less than 3% of the state's population they make up over 17% of all positive reported cases, Bauman reported.

Police responded to other mass gatherings over the weekend, including one in Fresh Meadows, Queens.

The city's Sheriff's Department said it sent home more than 100 people inside that park with hookah pipes and a DJ.

"I don't know what's going on with people, where they just want to have fun versus their health, their life. It's ridiculous," said Aisha Samad, a Fresh Meadows resident.

MORE: NYC Cracks Down, Issues $150,000 In Fines For Failure To Comply With Shutdown Guidelines In COVID Hot Spots

"More and more people are gonna get it. And we're gonna go back to the dark days six months ago when this whole thing started," Martin Perlmutter said.

Four people were arrested for their involvement in what police are calling "a rave."

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