NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Horse-drawn carriage rides are officially back in Central Park again.

Rides ran Saturday for the first time since March after being shut down due to the pandemic.

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But as drivers and tourists celebrated the return, they were met with protesters who are asking the city to get the carriages off the streets again.

Horse-drawn carriage rides returned to Central Park on Oct. 4, 2020, but they were met with protests. (Credit: CBS2)

They claim that not only are the horses mistreated, but mask rules are not being followed.

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“They’re showing total disregard for public safety and horse safety now. We need to end this animal abuse,” said Edita Birnkrant, executive director of NYCLASS.

The union that is affiliated with the drivers says otherwise.

“I think that the horse and carriages is iconic here in New York City, part of the transportation like the subways and buses are. I think it’s essential,” said Frank McCann, with Transport Workers Union Local 100.

McCann also said the stables are cleaned and the horses are well-treated.

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