US anti-vaxxers march on Washington DC

AAPAgencia EFE
Anti-vaccine activists have marched on Washington DC for a "Defeat The Mandates" rally.
Camera IconAnti-vaccine activists have marched on Washington DC for a "Defeat The Mandates" rally. Credit: EPA

Not a week after the United States celebrated Martin Luther King Day, thousands of anti-vaxxers have marched to demand "medical freedom" and protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates and wearing face masks.

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 senator Robert Kennedy - the demonstrators at the "Defeat The Mandates" march gathered on the National Mall in Washington DC on Sunday.

They marched from the Washington Monument on either side of the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial, where they listened to speeches by demonstration organisers, 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 organisers and demonstrators did not hesitate to establish parallels between the two causes.

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".

Besides the references to 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.

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 January 13 that overturned the president's directive to either get vaccinated or present weekly negative 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.

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