Festive rally against the vaccine mandate in Santa Barbara
After another deadly wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, another wave of anti-vaccine and anti-vaccine-warrant protests have arrived in Santa Barbara.
Echoing a similar protest in July, Saturday’s “World Freedom Rally” included 75 people marching from Stearns Wharf to De la Guerra Plaza where more than 200 people gathered for a freedom festival hosting several speakers and a live band. Similar protests have taken place around the world to resist vaccination mandates adopted by businesses and governments. Since a summer wave began two months ago, global COVID-19 cases have declined, but an average of 540,000 new cases and nearly 9,000 deaths per day continue to test the limits of health systems in the world.
The event was organized by Stand Up Santa Barbara, a local collective that organizes resistance to vaccine mandates and blockages.
“We are advocating for freedom, bodily autonomy, community, patriotism, education and family,” said Justin Shores, one of the main organizers of the event and candidate for Goleta City Council 2020. “When we say no, we start to see the change.”
Marisol Gutierrez, board member of Stand Up Santa Barbara, emphasized the topic of medical freedom: “We don’t care if people want to get vaccinated – we don’t think we do. should be forced or compelled to do so. We don’t want it to be ‘get tested or get vaccinated’. It must be a choice. “
As the protesters walked down State Street, they waved American flags, waved placards and chanted “No vaccine passport”, “No segregation” and “Coercion is not consent.” Passers-by knocked down protesters indignantly or applauded in agreement. Several fire trucks and even an ambulance honked their horns to show their support. Memorably, one of the leaders of the march shouted into a megaphone: “Nicki Minaj was right! Referring to the star’s recent tweets regarding vaccine side effects, which Dr Anthony Fauci and others called misinformation; earlier his “Super Bass” was used to pump energy out of the band.
Participants ranged from worried parents to health workers to those who see the pandemic as the harbinger of a global totalitarian regime.
“Never allow another injection,” said Judy Mikovits, activist and former virologist. During his speech, Mikovits gave voice to those who subscribe to conspiracy theories, discouraging blood transfusions in favor of natural remedies and claiming that the HIV / AIDS epidemic is planned. (The US government’s response to the HIV / AIDS epidemic has been delayed, due to widespread stigma against those vulnerable to the disease, but there is no credible evidence to show that HIV was predicted.)
While beliefs about COVID-19 and medical science ran the gamut, a common thread uniting many participants was the perception that public health responses to the pandemic were a sham and ultimately produced profits for Big Pharma and the ‘ultra-elite.
“People don’t know the truth about what’s going on. Hospitals, the health department, the CDC – they all lie, ”said nurse Julie Roberts. “My eyes have been opened on the pharmaceutical companies. Now I am wondering about all the other vaccines.
Skylar Douglas, who identified himself as a father, explained his concerns about a totalitarian takeover. “I am here to oppose compulsory masks for children, which I think goes in the direction of a global Communist takeover by the elites. It is a Gestapo takeover of the world, in the manner of the Nazis.
The crowd spent the end of the afternoon signing petitions and dancing to the music, all without masks. There was a spirit of celebration electrifying the air as many attendees are rarely surrounded by so many like-minded people. “We’re family now,” a woman shouted during the rally. “We are a family.”