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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thousands gathered in the nation’s capital to protest against vaccine mandates nationwide, with attendees saying they were standing up for “freedom.”
“I’m here to be a part of this movement, to fight for freedom and for the right to decide what’s right for your body,” one “Defeat the Mandates” rally goer told Fox News.
Numerous cities, including Washington, D.C., as well as private entities have enacted COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Vaccines offer superior protection against the virus, according to health experts who have also said that mandates are an effective tool to promote widespread vaccination.
“I’m from … a socialist country, so I value the freedom that they have here,” A Vietnamese native told Fox News. He said he attended the rally to “stand up for my right” and “fight for what I believe.”
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Another woman said: “We’re just here for freedom in general. Medical freedom, freedom of choice, just being able to go to work and go into an establishment and do normal things without having to subject ourselves to a medical, experimental vaccine.”
The group gathered by the Washington Monument before marching to the nearby Lincoln Memorial to listen to several speakers calling for an end to mandates.
Several firefighters marched at the rally while carrying an American flag.
As a firefighter, “we make a choice to take a risk,” a firefighter, Scott, told Fox News. “I’m happy to serve and more than willing to do things that some people might consider dangerous.”
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But “personal choice still matters, and mandates are not right in this country, no matter what it is,” Scott continued.
A federal contractor felt similarly and told Fox News that “the idea that people have to lose their jobs” in order to get the vaccine bothered him.
“I mean, you can tell me things I need to do that pertain to my job and at my work site that are important for what I do at work, but as far as what goes on in the rest of my life and what goes on in my body, that’s, that’s up to me,” he said.