Eleven members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have filed a federal lawsuit seeking protection from "mob violence and intimidation" against them in Queens allegedly carried out by a group called the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance.
The suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court describes a pattern of attacks against Falun Gong members at five sites in downtown Flushing where they operate a spiritual center, and set up tables to distribute religious flyers and materials protesting the Communist government in China.
The CACWA group also staffs a booth on Main St., where its supporters hand out anti-Falun Gong pamphlets.
Falun Gong members allege they have been punched, kicked and subjected to death threats by CACWA supporters who wear red vests. Falun Gong asserts in the suit that the anti-cult group is a tool of the Chinese Communist government, which outlawed Falun Gong in 1999.
"CACWA flyers repeatedly invoke and animal-related imagery imply that Falun Gong believers' mental state is not far from that of animals," the suit states. "In other materials CACWA distributes in Flushing, Falun Gong believers are characterized as 'malignant tumors' ... accompanied by explicit calls to violence."
There was no phone listing for the CACWA group in Queens. Two additional plaintiffs claim they were assaulted after they were mistaken for Falun Gong members.
The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and a restraining order pushing the anti-cult group 50 feet away from the Falun Gong Spiritual Center and 30 feet from the informational tables.
The NYPD has made arrests in connection with violence against Falun Gong, but there were 10 incidents last year and three already in 2015, according to the suit.