A small but determined group of anti-vaxxers temporarily halted operations at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday. Hundreds of motorists were waiting in line at the time that a group of about 50 demonstrators blocked the entrance to the parking lot where the vaccinations were being administered. Dodger Stadium is one of the largest vaccination sites in the United States.
The demonstration was billed as “Scamdemic Protest/March” on social media. Those joining in the protest were advised to “please refrain from wearing Trump/MAGA attire as we want our statement to resonate with the sheeple. No flags but informational signs only.” “This is a sharing information protest and march against everything COVID, Vaccine, PCR Tests, Lockdowns, Masks, Fauci, Gates, Newsom, China, digital tracking, etc.” They didn’t want Trump’s name to interfere with their protest’s message, which was an anti-vaccination message. There is a video by a man live-streaming the activities and he says he received a flyer advertising the event which specifically said to not wear any Trump gear, organizers didn’t want it to turn into a Trump event. A photographer covered the event for the L.A. Times.
Protesters carried signs that read “Save Your Soul TURN BACK NOW,” “CNN IS LYING TO YOU,” “RECALL GAVIN NEWSOM” and “TAKE OFF YOUR MASK.” Some handed out pamphlets to motorists who had their windows down. Some cars blared their horns as they drove by.
Protesters spoke through bullhorns: “Turn back while you can,” one man said. “You’re a lab rat.”
The Los Angeles Fire Department closed the entrance to the parking lot for about an hour starting just before 2:00 p.m. Several LAPD officers responded. No violence was reported and no arrests were made. No appointments were canceled.
Dodger Stadium vaccination site is usually open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. One person in line, a dentist, refuted the message delivered by the protesters and said vaccinations are the way to combat the virus.
“This is completely wrong,” said German Jaquez, who drove from his home in La Verne and had been waiting an hour for his vaccination when the stadium’s gates were closed. He said some of the protesters were telling people in line that the coronavirus is not real and that the vaccination is dangerous.
“This is the wrong message,” Jaquez said. “I’ve been waiting for weeks to get an appointment. I am a dentist; I am taking a big risk being around patients. I want to be safe for my patients and for my family. The vaccine is the only way to beat the virus.”
Public officials weighed in on the disruption.
CA is working around the clock to provide life-saving vaccines to those on the frontlines of this pandemic.
We will not be deterred or threatened.
Dodger Stadium is back up and running. https://t.co/5Yu9qqjO2K
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 31, 2021
One man, a best-selling author live-tweeted the demonstration. He was in line with his 69-year-old mother who has medical issues that make getting a vaccination a priority for her. At the end of his Twitter thread, emotions were running high as she successfully received her shot.
We’re at the mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium to get my mom the vaccine. The anti–vax protestors have approached the entrance to the site. The LAPD have now closed the gate. We have been sitting here for about half an hour. Nobody is moving. pic.twitter.com/GrJPA5wrqx
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) January 30, 2021
FINAL UPDATE: My 69 year old high risk mom Bonnie got the jab! She said she could hardly even feel it. We teared up. We’ve waited a year for this. Get your vaccine. My love to all of your families.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) January 30, 2021
Small anti-vax protest groups have targeted shopping malls and other locations to deliver their message. The Los Angeles City Council moved to draft a law that imposes fines and penalties on those who refuse to wear a mask in indoor spaces or violate the personal space of others. The demonstration at Dodger Stadium was the largest so far.
Following demonstrations by anti-mask groups at shopping malls, grocery stores and homeless encampments, the Los Angeles City Council earlier this month bolstered restrictions and subjected some violators to financial penalties. Following a unanimous vote, the council ordered city attorneys to draft a law that would impose fines and penalties on those who refuse to wear a mask at indoor businesses when requested to do so by management, as well as on individuals who refuse to wear one when “invading someone’s personal space.”
Earlier in the pandemic, maskless demonstrators gathered at retail outlets, including Erewhon Market in the Fairfax district, a Target on Beverly Boulevard and the Westfield Century City mall, sparking a backlash from shoppers and employees who felt harassed.
In one video, a demonstrator said he had tested negative for the virus and called a customer at the grocery store a “mask Nazi.”
After the Century City demonstration, Garcetti issued a warning.
“We won’t have officers who are standing by witnessing that. We will take action,” the mayor said. “And don’t test us on this, because you will find yourself in jail, cited or dealing with prosecution.”
Let the protesters do their thing peacefully but blocking access to a location delivering the vaccines can’t be allowed. It’s a public safety issue and it puts additional stress on older and/or ill people who are simply trying to get vaccinated. No one is forcing anyone to be vaccinated. Don’t want to be vaccinated? Fine, but don’t deny others the opportunity.