Politics

Demonstrators rally against Washington state COVID-19 mandates

Opponents of coronavirus related restrictions rallied at the state Capitol in Washington on Saturday, asking attendees to remain politically active as they hope to elect more conservative lawmakers.

The Washington State Patrol estimated that roughly 700 people showed up for the demonstration, which was termed “Government Resistance Impedes Tyranny.” 

Protesters heard from several speakers, including Tim Eyman, an anti-tax activist who rallied against Gov. Jay Inslee’s health restrictions that were put in place during the direst times of the pandemic.

Many of the mandates have already been lifted, like the vaccine requirement for large events that ceased on March 1. A statewide mask mandate for schools, grovery stores, bars, and other businesses is set to expire on March 12. Still, a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for state and school employees as well as private health care workers remains in effect.

A coalition of groups organized the rally including the Washington Three Percenters, which has organized efforts for years against what it sees as government tyranny. Several attendees carried flags and signs which read “tyranny.”

“Don’t Tread On Me” flags, designed by Christopher Gadsden in the Revolutionary War, were plentiful across the gathering, including those supporting former President Donald Trump and others aimed at current President Joe Biden.

A few conservative political activists and politicians used the event to deliver stump speeches as well as to raise money for lawsuits against state agencies.

State Sen. Phil Fortunato, an Auburn Republican, told the crowd that it is “horrible being in the minority” as he asked people living in Democratic districts to elect more Republicans.

GOP Rep. Robert Sutherland, Granite Falls, let the crowd know that he was denied entry into the State House on Friday because he did not get tested for the coronavirus. “I don’t have COVID. I’m healthy. You can’t keep the people’s representatives from working,” Sutherland said. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: AP NEWS

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