Serial protesters disrupt Easter Mass at St. Patrick’s with ‘Free Palestine’ chants before cops haul them away

Nothing’s sacred to these guys. 

A trio of attention-seeking protesters — one of whom previously glued his feet to the stands at the US Open as part of a climate-change stunt — were cuffed and hauled out of St. Patrick’s Cathedral after disrupting Easter Mass with shouts of “Free Palestine” on Saturday night, cops say.

Police were called to the iconic Midtown cathedral for complaints about a “disorderly group” just before 9 p.m. The protesters were quickly taken out of the service.

Matthew Menzies, 31, John Rozendaal, 63, and Gregory Schwedock, 35, were taken into custody and charged with disruption of religious service, police told The Post.

While being escorted out, one yelled “Free Palestine,” a video shared to X shows. 

Schwedock, of the Upper East Side, was arrested in September after disrupting the US Open women’s semifinal with activists who used glue to prevent security from ejecting them from Arthur Ashe Stadium after they held up a sign decrying fossil fuels. Their stunt stalled the match for nearly 50 minutes. 

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators disrupted services at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Saturday.
The protesters unfurled a flag reading “Silence = Death.”

The globe-trotting Stuyvesant High School grad has made a career of divisive climate protests, and has documented many of his activities on social media. 

Rozendaal, an Inwood resident, was previously arrested in April after spray-painting “Climate criminal and no new oil” on a window at a Citibank. 

The three noisemakers barged into the church following a protest by thousands of pro-Palestinian marchers in Times Square. 

At least some of the protesters were with Extinction Rebellion NYC’s Palestinian Solidarity group and carried a flag with an olive tree and the words “Silence = Death” written across it.

Extinction Rebellion has gained a name for itself with disruptive public climate change protests — including blocking major roads and hosting “die-ins” at major New York museums.  

Many attending the Mass, led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, did not react to the disruption, but some gathered outside the church felt Saturday evening’s demonstration lacked respect. 

“We all have to respect each other’s religions. What’s going on in Gaza is appalling, but there are other ways to show your point of view,” Arturo Ballester, a 59-year-old from Brooklyn, told The Post outside St. Patrick’s Saturday night. 

Another church-goer who did not want to be named but said she works as a lawyer said she felt the activists should take their demonstration elsewhere. 

“Not inside the church. Outside they can be as free as they please. Gaza is a really bad situation, but this is a place of sanctuary for us. Have a little respect, please.” 

Heavily armed police stationed outside St. Patrick’s on Easter. G.N.Miller/NYPost

Tony Furnary, a 65-year-old surgeon visiting New York City on holiday from Anchorage, Alaska, simply stated, “Wrong place, wrong time” in response to the protest. 

Schwedock’s Facebook feed features numerous videos of disruptive protests filmed in NYC and beyond, many involving vandalism and blocking public roadways.

One video includes footage from a 2019 “die-in” on Wall Street in which Extinction Rebellion members drenched the famous charging bull statue in fake blood and climbed on top of it.

At the start of the video documenting the protest, a member of the group named Alexia boasted two days ahead of time that she was going to be arrested.

On his Instagram, the climate activist posted videos of himself living it up at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, better known as COP27. 

According to FlightFree, the 5,600-mile flight from JFK Airport to Cairo, Egypt, emits 3.3 metric tons of CO2, which it says is capable of melting 105 square feet of Arctic sea ice.

Schrwedock did not respond to an Instagram message seeking comment Sunday.

Menzies could not be reached for comment. 

Rozendaal, the oldest of the trio and a self-described “viola de gamba player, Baroque cellist, and teacher,” last month on Facebook reposted a glowing essay about Aaron Bushnell, the 25-year-old Air Force airman who died after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy to protest the war in Gaza.

In comments under the posted video — titled “A Profound Act Of Sincerity” — Rozendaal praised Bushnell for having “the smarts to put his sacrifice in the view of the world to teach us, to inspire us, and to rightly shame us.”

In reference to Bushnell’s shocking self-immolation, Rozendaal wrote, “I see it as an occasion for solemn celebration.”

Rozendaal did not immediately respond to a message sent via Facebook.

Millions gathered around the world Saturday to protest the Israel-Hamas war. 

In a statement before the start of the Holy Week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a call for prayer and peace in the Middle East and to end the war.

“As the Church enters Holy Week and Christ’s suffering on the cross and his resurrection are made present to us so vividly, we are connected to the very source of hope,” the statement read. 

Since the start of the war, the conference has decried the deaths of civilians and made calls for peace and the release of hostages captured by Hamas. 

“Thousands of innocent people have died in this conflict, and thousands more have been displaced and face tremendous suffering,” the statement continued. 

“This must stop.”