Thousands of people took to Grand Park Monday in a bi-partisan effort to protest against the latest batch of COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
At least 4000 Americans were seen at the demonstration, which consisted of a few dozen or so passionate speakers, nonprofit organizations, and a line of vendors, all declaring such mandates unconstitutional.
Organized by Firefighters4Freedom, dubbed the “March for Freedom rally”, the crowd, which assembled around 10 am, did not march but instead took up space on the lawn only to disperse by 2 pm without incident.
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American flags, police flags and flags honoring veterans and picket signs stating each individual’s position were plenty, as well as cries for freedom in defiance of almost everything and anything Covid related.
Speakers expressed concerns over freedom of religion, having freedom over medical choices for themselves and their children, potentially losing their jobs, and their disappointment in the current administration. There weren’t any “Let’s Go Biden” imprecations.
However, a few “creative” messages were on t-shirts, hats, and picket signs, including several signs marked “hero to zero” and one protester who held a photoshopped poster of the Mayor dressed up as the Joker.
Our city’s most recent mandate requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is one of the strictest in the U.S., threatening paychecks and pensions for city and county employees, along with fines for businesses who do not comply.
The first offense for any business that does not comply will bring a warning, but subsequent offenses could rise to $5,000 each.
Protesters included Los Angeles city and county fire departments, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and other government agencies. At least one off-duty police officer took to the stage with public comments.
This happened outside the windows of City Hall with Mayor Garcetti under self-quarantine away in Scotland after news of his breakthrough Covid 19 infection on November 3.
While the order took effect Monday, city officials won’t start enforcing it until November 29, promising forbidden entry to indoor and outdoor event establishments until proof of vaccination or a negative covid test can be provided.
According to the ordinance, people can be exempted from the vaccine mandate if they have medical conditions that restrict their ability to get vaccinated or can convince each location of “sincerely held religious belief,” according to the ordinance.
On Monday, officials began SafewayLA, a city outreach and education campaign, but actual enforcement of the new mandate will not start until November 29.
Pushed back at least twice, December 18 now marks the deadline when L.A. city workers who have not received formal religious or medical exemptions to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk termination from their jobs.