Washington, Jan 23 (EFE).- Not a week after the United States celebrated Martin Luther King Day, thousands of anti-vaxxers marched to demand “medical freedom” and protest coronavirus vaccine mandates and wearing facemasks, emulating the civil rights defender in a huge demonstration Sunday in Washington.
Coming from all over the US and harangued by the most prominent voices among the anti-vaccination movement – including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of late President John F. Kennedy and the son of late Sen. Robert Kennedy – the demonstrators at the “Defeat the Mandates” march gathered on the National Mall in the US capital.
They marched from the Washington Monument on either side of the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial, where they listened to speeches by demonstration organizers, many of whom are medical doctors.
The site was the same one chosen for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech supporting civil rights for African Americans, and march organizers and the demonstrators did not hesitate on Sunday to try and establish parallels between the two causes.
Rev. King said that a person has the moral responsibility to fight against unjust laws, said comedian J.P. Sears to the thousands of marchers before the various medical doctors began addressing them.
Among the demonstrators, who ranged from young to elderly and came from as far away as Arizona and Texas, the references to King and quotes from his speeches were commonly heard, as for example a poster on which could be read MLK’s historic quote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
The woman carrying the sign, who identified herself only as “Anne,” told EFE that Rev. King opposed all sorts of mandates, adding that they are the same thing as fascism and King did not like fascism at all.
Besides the references to Rev. King, among the things chanted by the marchers were the constant references to freedom, especially “medical freedom,” demands not to experiment on humans and direct messages such as flags supporting former President Donald Trump and against President Joe Biden.
Nadia Zoltan, a woman with graying hair who came to Washington from Pennsylvania along with her husband and two sisters, told EFE that she was not anti-vax, but rather anti-mandate. She said that people should be free to do what they want, either get vaccinated or not, wear a facemask or not.
She said that being fired from your job for not getting vaccinated is “tyranny” and the US cannot become a tyranny.
Among the marchers there was a certain feeling of victory over the recent court decisions against Biden’s vaccine mandates, including the Supreme Court decision rendered on Jan. 13 that overturned the president’s directive to either get vaccinated or present weekly negative Covid-19 tests for workers at firms with 100 employees or more.
More recently, last Friday a federal judge in Texas blocked another of Biden’s orders obligating federal government workers to get vaccinated against Covid.
Maryland resident Janer Kadin said that one step at a time people were moving toward victory, displaying a flag on which could be read “Let’s Go, Brandon,” a slogan that has become popular among the right in the US for insulting Biden.