Violence has now become a more common feature of anti-mask and anti-vaccine protests
Nationwide rallies against masks and vaccine mandates reemerged over the weekend in full force, with one Republican candidate for office in Pennsylvania threatening to bring "20 strong men" into school board meetings to protest for their children to be able to attend school maskless.
"Forget going into these school boards with freaking data. You go into these school boards to remove them," Steve Lynch, a GOP candidate for the Northampton government, told a crowd gathered outside the Harrisburg Capitol in Pennsylvania on Sunday. "I'm going in with 20 strong men and I'm gonna give them an option – they can leave or they can be removed."
Lynch made headlines back in February, when the GOP candidate first launched his campaign. An ardent supporter of Donald Trump, Lynch believes the election was stolen from the former president, and is vehemently against COVID-19 health precautions, which have largely fueled his candidacy as a political newcomer.
"This past year, we have seen our businesses, our families and our communities upended and destroyed by the Wuhan virus along with the tyrannical government that starts right at the top with Gov. Wolf and permeates through weak elected officials at Northampton County," Lynch told The Morning Call.
Harrisburg's protest this past week, reported on by Freedom News TV, is just the latest to come in a nationwide string of anti-mandate protests over the past several months.
Last week, a Louisiana state school board meeting descended into bedlam when a throng of anti-mandate parents and protesters interrupted a meeting in the state Capitol to speak out against Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' recent COVID-19 mask mandate in schools, the Daily Advertiser reported.
Some of the 200 protesters screamed words like "traitors" and chanted, "We will not comply, we will not comply."
The nation has seen countless interventions just like this in cities such as Kenosha, Wisconsin; Bristol, Connecticut; Spokane Valley, Washington; and Annapolis, Maryland – some of which have erupted into shouting matches and even violence. Earlier this month, in Williamson County, Tennessee, healthcare professors were surrounded and yelled at by an angry mob of anti-mask protesters after a school board meeting.
Mass demonstrations are also being held outside of various state Capitol buildings, where thousands throughout the country have publicly gathered to call out what they feel is America's slide toward authoritarianism. In Minnesota this past weekend, over 2,000 anti-mandate protesters assembled outside of the State Capitol, chanting slogans like, "my body, my choice" and holding up signs that read "Stop the Mandates."
Even though the state's mask mandate was pulled back in May, the demonstrators railed against numerous public health precautions, including the use of so-called vaccine passports, according to The Star Tribune. That same day, hundreds gathered outside of Connecticut's capitol building in the same spirit, expressing vehement opposition to mask mandates in schools.
"We want to see the end of mask mandates for children in Connecticut regardless of vaccination status," anti-mask activist Jonathan Johnson told The Hartford Courant. "We need to give parents choices for their children regarding any medical treatments and/or medical devices, including the use of masks or vaccines."
Last week, Connecticut's Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont – who recently imposed a mask mandate until September 30 – had to be escorted from a back-to-school event in Cheshire when parents barged into a meeting to protest his enactment of COVID-19 health precautions.
The acting director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health alleged that he was verbally and physically assaulted at a recent City Council meeting after encouraging the council's members to enact a mask mandate. Dr. Faisal Khan said that members of the crowd mocked with impressions of "Simpsons" regular Apu – a character whose stereotypical portrayal of Indians was an element of the show that voice actor Hank Azaria recently apologized for. As he was attempting to leave the chamber, Khan said he was "confronted" and "surrounded" by a "crowd in close quarters" and called a "fat brown cunt" and a "brown bastard."
"I have worked to improve public health around the world, working in Australia, Vietnam, Pakistan, South Africa, the People's Republic of China, Zimbabwe, Botswana and the United States (West Virginia, Massachusetts and Missouri)," Dr. Faisal Khan wrote in a Wednesday letter to the council's chairwoman. "In all that time and in all those places," he continued, "I have never been subjected to the racist, xenophobic, and threatening behavior that greeted me in the County Council meeting last night."
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