Protesters demonstrate against the vaccine mandate in Washington DC

Protesters march from the John A. Wilson Building, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, to Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, DC, in opposition to the city’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, January 15, 2022. |

WASHINGTON — Dozens of protesters marched on Saturday against a newly instituted coronavirus vaccine mandate in the district that bars residents and visitors from entering many establishments unless they have received at least one dose of vaccine.

The mandate came into force on Saturday and requires people aged 12 and over seeking to enter “restaurants, bars and nightclub establishments”, “indoor entertainment establishments”, “exercise and leisure establishments in indoor” or “indoor event and meeting facilities” have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

In February, the mandate will be expanded, requiring customers to prove they have been tricked twice.

Exempt places include: places of worship, grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals and other medical establishments, “big box stores” and “retail establishments where people tend to be on the move and not not stand or sit near others for long periods of time. of time” as well as most government facilities such as the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Additionally, the vaccination mandate does not apply to “persons entering a covered establishment for a quick and limited purpose”, such as placing an order at a fast food restaurant or “a person entitled by law to an accommodation reasonable because of a medical condition or an honest religious belief. However, those providing documentation of a religious or medical exemption must provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within the previous 24 hours.

Demonstration against vaccine mandate
Protesters gather outside the John A. Wilson Building, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, against the vaccination mandate in Washington, DC on January 15, 2022. |

The vaccination mandate did not go down well with dozens of protesters braving the cold and marching from the John A. Wilson Building, where Mayor Muriel Bowser works, to Lafayette Square outside the White House to demonstrate their opposition to vaccination mandates at the local and federal level. The event was organized and led by Annabelle Rutledge, who works for the conservative public policy organization Concerned Women for America, in her capacity as a private citizen.

Arriving outside Lafayette Square, Rutledge led the crowd in prayer. She expressed her gratitude to all the attendees who “got up and sacrificed their Saturday mornings, their soft, warm beds, their TV shows, their outings with friends, whatever it was, to come here today and defend their personal freedom, but also the personal freedoms of their neighbours.

“It is to love your neighbour. To stand up for religious freedom, personal freedom, our Constitution, the preservation of this country, is to love your neighbour,” she asserted.

At the event, Rutledge prayed for President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the mayor, and anyone with coronavirus or any other type of illness.

Rutledge called on God to “look upon our nation and have grace upon us, even in the ways we have sinned and the ways we have turned against you” before leading the crowd in singing “God Bless America.” She also proclaimed that “rebellion against tyranny is obedience to God”.

Demonstration against vaccine mandate
Annabelle Rutledge, the organizer of a protest against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Washington, DC, stands in front of the John A. Wilson Building, the office of Mayor Muriel Bowser, January 15, 2022. |

In an interview with The Christian Post, Rutledge explained what motivated her to organize a protest: “As an American citizen, as a person who lives in the DMV, thankfully Virginia…I didn’t want this day to pass. without a kind of respectful dissent against this attack on personal freedom.

Rutledge added that she had “friends … who worked for organizations or businesses in the district who decided to follow the vaccination mandate” afterward, her friends lost their jobs because they weren’t not vaccinated.

“We just have to remember and keep in mind that this is not just a vaccine mandate,” she added.

“First of all, it’s not a partisan issue either,” she continued. “There are people on both sides of the aisle. This is for every freedom-loving American who wants to stand up for personal freedom, but outside of that…it gets us back to the very core of what we believe in as a society.

Rutledge argued that the issue of the vaccine mandate illustrates the importance of preserving the right to “think freely, to think critically, to analyze things, to ask questions, to make a decision for ourselves and to stand up for our rights and finally say no”. She further emphasized that “individual freedom is what this country is built on” and asserted that “it’s not just a mandate, it’s much more important than that.”

She also condemned the “trampling of religious exemptions” that have accompanied vaccination mandates and condemned the “political elites across our country who are totally out of touch with the average American” and who make “edicts that do not conform. to…how our country was supposed to be run.

“To me, it’s about more than just a vaccination mandate. It’s about personal freedom. It’s about our ability to think critically, to debate things rigorously, to ask questions, to post things on social media that we disagree with or agree with and ultimately say “no” if that’s the decision we make.

Demonstration against vaccine mandate
Protesters gather outside the John A. Wilson Building, the office of Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, in opposition to the city’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, January 15, 2022. |

Anna Lulis, a Students for Life of America employee who lives in the district, told the crowd that she had spent the past week “visiting every store I could think of because I wanted to…support small companies before not being able to.”

She recalled that many of her unvaccinated friends had done the same before criticizing Bowser for “creating a division within his community” by imposing a vaccination mandate.

Several protesters spoke with CP about the impact the vaccine mandate will have on them. Brooke Paz, another Students for Life of America employee, said: “This tenure affects me 100% because I live in DC, I work in DC, and now I can’t go anywhere to have fun. because of this warrant.”

Paz cited the vaccine mandate as the latest example of Bowser making “decisions offline.” she added that Bowser is “very supportive of Planned Parenthood, she’s very supportive of…expanding access to abortion,” and lamented that “some of our employees and students have been arrested outside of a Planned Parenthood in DC on his orders”.

“She definitely doesn’t work for people, unfortunately, and I don’t think she’ll make the right decision here,” Paz predicted. Participation in the protest against the vaccine mandate was not limited to those living in the Washington metro area.

Minnesota’s Christin Deretich attended the rally while in town to help her daughter move into her new apartment in Virginia. “I know a lot of people who work for conservative organizations and I know that small businesses and … individuals are both suffering because the people who live and work here, their whole way of life has changed from not being able to go out or socialize in the community as they once did. And businesses are hurting because they will no longer welcome unvaccinated people as customers,” she said.

Deretich shared his beliefs that “everyone should have the freedom to decide what type of medical procedures are performed on their own body” and that “the federal government should stay away from personal decisions, especially private decisions , personal and bodily autonomy”. She called the vaccine mandate “totally constitutional and immoral”.

Minneapolis-area resident Deretich noted that Minneapolis recently implemented a vaccination mandate for public spaces similar to the district and Boston mandates. She swore that “I will not go to Minneapolis or any Minneapolis business as a result of the warrant.”

Chris O’Neill, a resident of nearby Arlington, Va., suggested that the vaccine mandate prompted the immediate closure of “a few businesses that I frequented regularly.” O’Neill highlighted concerns about vaccine effectiveness when discussing his rationale for opposing the mandate.

“dr. [Anthony] Fauci himself has just admitted recently, as well as the head of the [National Institutes of Health] and a few others…that vaccines do not stop the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “There really is no difference in the amount of spread after getting the vaccine and that means it’s totally a personal choice, totally a personal choice. It doesn’t affect anyone else, just you, and we’re shutting everyone down because of it.

Demonstration against vaccine mandate
Protesters gather outside the White House to voice their opposition to the city’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, January 15, 2022. |

According to data collected by the city updated last Monday, 89% of Washington residents are partially or fully vaccinated, while 68% are fully vaccinated. The nation’s capital has slightly higher vaccination rates than the country as a whole, where CDC data shows 75% of Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine and 63% are fully vaccinated.

The implementation of the vaccine mandate in Washington comes two days after the United States Supreme Court found that Biden’s mandate requiring employers of more than 100 employees to subject their workers to weekly tests and wear a mask or force them to take the unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine. At the same time, the judges refused to strike down the administration’s mandate requiring healthcare workers employed at facilities participating in Medicaid and Medicare to take the vaccine.

Saturday’s demonstration is not the only anti-warrant rally planned in Washington. A larger protest, titled “Defeat the Mandates: An American Homecoming,” is scheduled for Jan. 23 on the National Mall.

The protest, led by mRNA vaccine pioneer Robert Malone, will consist of a march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. After the mile walk, “recording artists, prominent doctors, journalists, professional athletes, actors and leading opinion leaders will give a series of inspiring lectures and musical performances.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be contacted at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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