NEW YORK – A man is under arrest after leading an animal rights demonstration inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral during noon mass on Easter Sunday.
Jacob Martin, 23, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina was charged with disruption of a religious service, police said.
Martin and a few of his Collectively Free members – an activist group that focuses on the total liberation of animals – were filmed entering the church and speaking out against “Easter tradition of eating of animals” before they were quickly escorted out by security guards, their Facebook page said.
Police said one of the protesters shouted into a bullhorn that “only the devil” could create “animals capable of love and joy just so humans can make them suffer and die.”
The entire ordeal appeared to have scared parishioners, according to PIX11’s Anthony DiLorenzo, who in attendance with his wife Kala Rama.
“Parishioners were unsure what he was saying – and appeared to be on edge,” DiLorenzo said. “A few dozen people hurried for the exits.”
Stephanie Stark also attended the ceremony and saw the protest go down.
“Just as the priest began, someone got on a megaphone in the middle of Easter mass at St Patrick’s,” she wrote on Twitter. “Little girl next to me was freaked out.”
After the protesters were restrained and ushered out of the building, the priest resumed with the homily.
The reason for their outburst inside the Catholic place of worship, the group said on their Facebook page, is to “remind of their true values such as thou shall not kill.”
Martin, who works as a Christian school teacher, will be arranged on Monday afternoon.