NEW YORK — Police arrested fifteen people after a fight over a Muslim headscarf broke out at an amusement park on Tuesday.
A dispute began when woman wearing hijabs attempted to ride a roller coaster that for safety reasons, do not allow head coverings, county officials said. A park employee asked the women to remove their coverings before boarding the ride, but they grew upset at the request, and other parkgoers watching the scene intervened.
The park entrance was closed for two hours as police responded to the melee, according to the Associated Press. More than 6,000 people were in the park at the time, and it is estimated that up to 3,000 were there on a Muslim American Society of New York-led tour held in celebration of Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.
The Society had been advised of park rules numerous times before the event, parks Deputy Commissioner Peter Tartaglia said in a phone interview.
“We don't discriminate. A baseball cap is headgear,” Tartaglia said.
"Loose articles and personal possessions such as electronic devices, keys, hats, glasses,backpacks, purses and stuffed animals should be left at home, kept in a locker or left with a non-rider while at the Park or on rides," the park’s policy reads. A park spokesman said scarves are potential choking hazards.
Two park rangers who intervened were injured and were hospitalized. Sources say the people arrested, who claim the police response was too aggressive, were later released. Several departments responded to the fight and it is unclear which law enforcement agency made the arrests.