Pro-Palestinian protesters released after disrupting NYC Easter mass

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A trio of pro-Palestinian protesters was released without bail in New York City after being arrested for disrupting an Easter Vigil Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral by unfurling a banner and shouting, “Free Palestine!” 

The New York Police Department told Fox News Digital that Gregory Schwedock, 35, John Rozendaal, 63, of New York, and Matthew Menzies, 31, of Colchester, each have been charged with disruption of a religious service following the incident caught on video Saturday night. Court records Monday indicate that all three men have since been released.

“Three male individuals barged entered the church and disrupted Mass by approaching the altar while yelling ‘Free Palestine,’” the NYPD said in a statement. “The individuals were taken into custody at the scene without incident.” 

Video taken at the scene shows a banner with the message “Silence = Death” being unfurled near the altar of the Easter Vigil service, which was led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York. Security quickly removed the protesters from the area and many in attendance did not appear to acknowledge the outburst. 


Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupt St Patrick's Cathedral mass

Pro-Palestinian protesters are seen unfurling a banner Saturday during an Easter Vigil Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. (XR NYC Palestine Solidarity)

The climate activist group behind the stunt, Extinction Rebellion, wrote on X that their activists “demand all faith leaders take immediate and vocal action against genocide and ecocide.” 

“War, occupation, and industrial pollution are poisoning the soil, air and water in Gaza and all over the planet, destroying the earth’s capacity to sustain life,” it continued. “This destruction is called ‘Ecocide.’” 

“With thirty thousand dead in Gaza and all life on earth threatened by the climate crisis, every individual and every institution that values justice, peace, and love has a duty to oppose genocide and ecocide in a way that can be clearly seen and heard by all,” it also said. 


Exterior shot showing st. patrick's cathedral in NYC

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had issued a call for prayer for peace in the Middle East and an end to the Israel-Hamas war in a statement before the start of Holy Week. 

St. Patrick’s Cathedral did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital on Monday. 

Protest broken up at St. Patrick's Cathedral

The protesters are seen being removed by security at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on Saturday. (XR NYC Palestine Solidarity)


Schwedock, who was one of the protesters arrested, was previously taken into custody last September after disrupting a U.S. Open tennis semifinal match during which climate activists used glue to prevent security from ejecting them, according to the New York Post. 

Fox News’ Stepheny Price contributed to this report. 

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