- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2020

A handful of left-wing activists held a rally of sorts Monday in New York’s mostly deserted Times Square to demand the ouster of President Trump and more federal aid to fight the coronavirus outbreak, but they relegated their rabble-rousing to the confines of social-distancing guidelines.

A total of seven people, masked and gloved, were visible at the demonstration live-streamed on the Facebook page of Refuse Fascism.

They stood on a wide sidewalk in Manhattan holding signs that read “Trump/Pence Out Now” and demanded the administration deliver more masks and protective equipment for health care workers.

“Trump’s actions are killing us!” said Emma Kaplan, who led the demonstration. “We condemn Trump’s killing actions and demand the Trump and Pence regime is removed from power now!”

The protest took place despite increasingly stringent moves by New York City authorities to limit all gatherings. Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, threatened to permanently shut down churches and synagogues that defy the ban on gatherings.

He said New Yorkers who violate police orders to disperse public gatherings would be subject to $500 fines.

The mayor’s office referred questions about the rally to the New York Police Department, which did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Light traffic could be seen headed uptown by the protesters and at times a bicyclist pedaled in and around the seven people, who were standing still.

“Trump 2020, baby!” shouted a man from off-camera during the brief live broadcast on the group’s Facebook page, which has 73,671 followers.

“They should be home,” wrote Evy Casella in the first comment posted below the video.

Ms. Kaplan acknowledged it was problematic to hold a protest while authorities are issuing increasingly desperate pleas for people to remain home unless buying essential supplies, but she argued the threat posed by President Trump outweighed the benefits of virus aversion policies.

“We know it’s a risk,” she told The Washington Times by phone while walking more than seven miles from Brooklyn to Times Square. “We didn’t want to have 100 people, in Times Square but we did want to make this statement. Unless there’s action taken, all of humanity will be in a world of hurt.”

The group announced March 17 that it was “suspending actively organizing for sustained mass protests of millions in the streets at this moment.”

However, the group has continued its steadfast opposition to the Trump administration online and has scheduled a weekly “remote protest to stop #TrumpGenocide.”

Mr. Trump describes his efforts to combat the public health emergency as the best in U.S. history, particularly in responding to huge outbreaks in New York, California, Illinois and Louisiana.

Still, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats, oscillate between praising the administration’s response and blasting it as insufficient.

At a press conference Monday, Mr. Cuomo said he would not engage in “politics” with the White House.

“If you’re doing the right thing by New York, I’ll say it; if he’s doing the wrong thing by New York or the rest of the country, I’ll say it,” Mr. Cuomo said.

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