Thousands of people including truckers and firefighters from across the country gathered Sunday outside Los Angeles City Hall to protest vaccination mandates designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The crowd gathered at Grand Park to hear speakers and performers, while big-rig trucks from the “People’s Convoy” were parked on nearby streets. Members of the convoy jammed traffic during a Washington, D.C., protest earlier this year.
The peaceful crowd gathered to hear speakers and singers and was similar to a rally held at the same spot last year and to others staged around the country.
California battled a deadly winter coronavirus surge linked to the omicron variant but began easing masking and vaccination requirements this year as caseloads and hospitalization rates fell, which public health officials largely attributed to widespread vaccination and other safety measures.
However, the rates began to rise again a couple of weeks ago, leading to concerns the new, more infectious BA.2 variant was spreading.
Paul Schweit, 31, a New York firefighter and founder of the group Bravest for Choice, flew out with some teachers, transit operators, and others to support local public workers, he said.
Schweit said he has been on unpaid leave for five months for failing to comply with New York’s vaccine requirement for public employees. He believes he had COVID-19 but recovered.
“The people that held out this long believe that this is not about a shot. It’s about the freedom to make the choice for yourself for your own bodily autonomy,” Schweit said. “We are 100% not anti-vaccine. We support the individual. We believe the threat to the individual is a threat to all freedoms of the people.”
Los Angeles County and the city require their workers, including firefighters and police and sheriff’s deputies, to be fully vaccinated or to have medical or religious exemptions. Relatively few have faced disciplinary action.
As of last month, about two dozen employees, including a dozen fire department workers and several police officers, had been fired for violating vaccine mandate rules. The city has successfully fought anti-mandate lawsuits filed on behalf of firefighters and police department workers.
Organizers of the protest are opposing several COVID-19-related bills that have been proposed in the Legislature, although the broadest has been put on hold. Assembly member Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, shelved her measure that would have required all public or private employees or independent contractors to be vaccinated. Wicks cited easing pandemic conditions and opposition from public safety unions.
Have you received Salvation from Jesus the Messiah? Time is running out. Jesus will return very soon. The signs of His return are everywhere in this crazy world we are living in. Please read below so that you can be saved. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. The Words below are directly from the Bible, so you can trust them.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all )is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. IF YOU KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:9)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
For those of us who persevere and do what Jesus says to do, we have this to look forward to in eternity: And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
The Bible – New King James Version, NKJV