NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The organizer of a large worship gathering in downtown Nashville that attracted thousands of people says the city has launched an effort to “selectively target Christians for harassment and punishment.”

Sean Feucht put together the “Let Us Worship” event, which was held late Sunday outside the Metro Courthouse. Videos of the gathering, labeled a protest by Feucht, circulated all over social media, showing thousands of people crammed together with no social distancing and few masks in sight.

The Metro Public Health Department said Monday that it would “pursue appropriate penalties against the organizer.” The department said Feucht did not submit an application to the health department or a permit application to any Metro department.

“On the same day the World Health Organization warned the world against lockdowns, Nashville launched an effort to selectively target Christians for harassment and punishment,” Feucht responded in a statement. “There’s no need for an investigation here.”

He added, “thousands of Christians gathered together responsibly and peaceably to sing and pray in accordance with the First Amendment, because we are tired of government officials telling us when, where, and how we can practice our Faith.”

Feucht appeared to be referencing comments made last week by Dr. David Nabarro, one of six special envoys to the World Health Organization on COVID-19. He told the British magazine The Spectator that lockdowns should be considered as just one measure among many to control the virus, with an aim to give countries “breathing space” to roll out other, better anti-COVID measures.

“We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Nabarro said. He added that lockdowns can only be justified “to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted. But by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

Since declaring the coronavirus a pandemic in March, WHO has said that if countries decide to go into lockdown, it should be considered temporary and they should use the time to implement measures like testing, tracing, informing local populations and promoting physical distancing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.