Miles from Vaccinated GDS, a Rally to ‘Defeat the Mandate’

Thousands of right-wing activists took to the National Mall on Sunday, Jan. 23, for a “Defeat the Mandate” rally, protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Participants marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, where they heard speeches from JP Sears, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and other vaccine skeptics. 

At GDS, nearly all community members, except for a few with religious or medical exemptions, are required to be vaccinated against the virus. But as Augur Bit photographer Kaiden J. Yu observed on the Mall, another community gathered in D.C. to adamantly oppose such mandates.

The view from the World War II Memorial shows the scale of the rally.

An anti-vaccine flag flies in the wind while a helicopter circles above.
Protestors gather at the base of the Washington Monument.
The American flag hangs beside a toddler observing the protest.
“Don’t Tread on Me” was among the most common messages at the rally.
Rally participants crane their necks to see speeches by prominent vaccine skeptics.
Rhetoric often associated with abortion rights advocates was present throughout the anti-vaccine protest, which took place only two days after the March for Life.
Children hold up signs denouncing vaccine mandates.
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