Thousands attend LA protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates
The rally outside Los Angeles City Hall was organized by Defeat the Mandates, who has sponsored other anti-vaccine and anti-mandate events across the country
April 12, 2022 8:56am
Updated: April 12, 2022 12:45pm
Thousands gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest state COVID-19 vaccine mandates, according to reports.
The rally outside Los Angeles City Hall was organized by Defeat the Mandates, who has sponsored other anti-vaccine and anti-mandate events across the country.
“Many feel that discrimination on the basis of vaccination status in countless facets of American life is un-American,” said organizers.
The peaceful attendees included firefighters and had dozens of scheduled speakers and musical guests. Truckers from the “People’s Convoy” who had jammed traffic in Washington, D.C., were parked on nearby streets.
"The idea that our government wants to mandate forced vaccination as a prerequisite to having a job in this state is absolutely unacceptable and, we believe, unconstitutional," John Knox of the group Firefighters4Freedom said in a statement, reports NBC 4 Los Angeles.
LA County and city require their workers, including firefighters and law enforcement, to be fully vaccinated or have medical or religious exemptions. About two dozen employees have been fired for violating these rules, reports The Hill.
Los Angeles has successfully fought anti-mandate lawsuits filed on behalf of firefighters and police.
Attendees spoke about their experiences with vaccine mandates and expressed faith in the rally’s goal.
"I didn't want to get it (the vaccine). I kind of regret getting it (the vaccine)," a 39-year-old Los Angeles man told City News Service. He added that he "bowed down to external pressure” and regretted it.
"I believe in what the movement is for," a 42-year-old Los Angeles guitarist told NBC 4. "I'm just grateful people are out here today."
Organizers are opposing several COVID-19 bills at the state level. The broadest, which would require all public or private employees and contractors to be vaccinated, has been shelved by its sponsor, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, citing easing pandemic conditions and opposition from public safety unions.