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March for a Free Press held outside New York Times building in Manhattan

The New York Times' headquarters in midtown, Manhattan

The New York Times' headquarters in midtown, Manhattan was the site of a rally in support of the press on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Photo Credit: Ivan Pereira

About 200 activists stood in silence outside The New York Times' headquarters on West 41st Street in midtown Manhattan Sunday in a show of solidarity with the press.

The rally was organized after the White House banned several major news outlets, including The New York Times and CNN, from an off-camera briefing on Friday.

"We need the media here. We need you all here. We are with you," said Isabelle Novoa, of Hell's Kitchen, before the protest began.

Jennifer Friedlin, spokeswoman for the group Get Organized BK!, which helped plan the event, said the rally was meant to encourage the press to keep doing its job.

“They have our back and we have their back,” she said. “[President Donald] Trump can do what he wants and call people names, but the free press isn’t going away.”

Some of the protesters duct taped their mouths shut as they stood with copies of the New York Times. Others held protest signs that said, "This is not fake news," and "Support the Free Press."

One girl held a sign that said, "I [heart] the First Amendment."

Ali Adler, 28, of Prospect Heights, said it was important for people to show their support, especially after Trump "undemocratically" banned the Times from Friday’s briefing. 

"The country needs the free press now more than ever. People can't take for granted our rights," he said.

After about an hour, the protesters headed for Fox News' headquarters on Sixth Avenue to show support for freedom of all press.They then planned to make their way over to NBC's Rockefeller Plaza headquarters. 

On Saturday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and other local officials held a rally outside The New York Times’ building.

Maloney said she was alarmed Saturday morning when she read what happened.

“There’s no democracy without freedom of the press. It’s absolutely vital, and you can’t single out and exclude based on the content of what a reporter writes,” she said. “You can’t do that.”

With Matthew Chayes

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