Hundreds of people gathered in front of a shuttered Staten Island bar on in New York City on Wednesday night, protesting the sheriff's closure of Mac's Public House.
Supporters chanted "USA" and waved American flags and showed their signs; one read "Lock up criminals, not Americans."
Owner of Mac's, Danny Presti, had declared his establishment an "autonomous zone." He explained that due to Governor Andrew Cuomo's "zone" rating system for coronavirus cases and associated restrictions, his bar is closed, while bars and restaurants only a few blocks away are open for indoor dining.
Presti and his attorney were interviewed live on Tucker Carlson, and spoke about the conditions of the lockdown, the affect on local businesses, and the unlawfulness of depriving people of their livelihoods while raucous protestors could be heard behind them.
"We are a community,” Presti told supporters. "We take back Staten Island tonight. We take all the states back. This is how we take our country back."
Christine Salica of Westerleigh has been unemployed since March, and told the Staten Island Advance that "To me this is a revolution. Cuomo and his legislators are collecting our paychecks and they are putting us out of work."
On Monday, police arrested him at Mac's Public House. On Tuesday, Staten Islanders turned out to support Presti, and Presti spoke, with his lawyer, explaining the injustices he believed have been enacted upon New Yorkers. His bar has racked up thousands in fines as it refused to close either to indoor dining or for the 10 pm nightly curfew.
The arrest came after plainclothes officers from the New York City Sheriff's department entered the bar and ordered food. Deputies in uniform then came in and distributed tickets. Presti was arrested for obstruction of governmental administration, and for charges associated with serving food and beverages, which was "unauthorized."