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MANHATTAN, N.Y. — A large group of employees of the City of New York gathered outside City Hall in Manhattan on Wednesday to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

They want the option of being regularly tested for COVID instead of potentially being forced to vaccinate or lose their jobs.

Rally organizer Michael Kane would not say if he was vaccinated. He said the protest was about choice. Kane called vaccine mandates authoritarianism.

Organizers said 3,000 people were expected at the rally. Hundreds were there before the protest officially kicked off.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he believes a vaccine mandate for all adults that work with kids is the right thing for New York City.

The union representing teachers in New York City said about 80 percent of their members are vaccinated. More than 90 percent of teachers across the nation have their shot, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.

The focus for many unions now is on making sure any mandates are fair.

PIX11’s Kala Rama has more details in the video player above.

Editor’s Note: PIX11 updated this post to clarify the number of people in attendance.