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Defeat the Mandates Rally Draws over 20,000 to Protest in D.C.

Over 20,000 diverse opponents of compulsory injections showed up to listen to musical performers including rapper Hi-Rez and Jimmy Levy as well as noted medical practitioners Dr. Robert Malone and Dr. Mary Bowden speak.  Popular comedian JP Sears (AwakenWithJP) was the emcee.

January hardly seems like an ideal time to demonstrate or protest in Washington D.C.  Afterall, it is in the dead of winter.  But cold temperatures aside, in many ways January is a good time to show your disapproval over social and political issues.  Congress returns to session, presidential inaugurations occur (every four years), the crush of summer in bound tourists is not a factor (freeing up parking and hotel space) and getting support for a cause is easier than competing with someone’s summer vacation plans.  All these factors (and others) combine to, ironically, make cold January in D.C. the place for protest.  The annual March for Life protest occurred on Friday January 21st, 2022.  With some of the same folks likely in town and distrust rising over the Biden Administration’s failures on the pandemic mounting, organizers went ahead with a Defeat the Mandates rally on Sunday.

Although there was a near total blackout of the event in mainstream media and on cable news, organizers nonetheless managed to arrange a successful, peaceful, well-organized event with professional security, several noted speakers, entertainers, and others as well as excellent logistical support (dozens of port-a-lets along the reflecting pool).  Media estimates placed the crowd in attendance at approximately 20,000.  That matches my own initial estimate, though from my vantage point near the front on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial I could not see thousands below who were out of sight.  When I departed the crowd was still at least 20,000, so it had been somewhat larger, perhaps 30,000.  But numbers are not the key metric for this event.  In fact, as far as size, it paled in comparison to many other rallies on the Mall.

Protesters were to meet at the Washington Monument at 10:30 to assemble and then march to the Lincoln Memorial at 11:30.  There were only about 3,000 gathered at the outset, but numbers quickly swelled with the size of the crowd around the Washington Monument exceeding 10,000 within twenty minutes.  A truly diverse and eclectic mix of people showed up for this event.  Hippies, Democrats, Republicans, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, multiple faiths were all present.  If one were to gather a sampling of those who assembled and put them in a room to discuss their political views, I suspect there would be many disagreements.  But, like the thousands of health care workers present, folks shared a common goal at this event regardless of where they reside on the political spectrum: end the erosion of liberty and stop the coercive methods to force people to be vaccinated.

While the broad diversity of those present may have surprised some observers, a few other things were noteworthy as well.  Many of the protesters whom I spoke to (as well as some with signs) had previously recovered from the COVID virus.  While some media reports falsely claim protesters “flouted” D.C. lockdown restrictions by not wearing masks, no such restriction exists.  Current D.C. rules are for restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms, not outdoors.  A surprising number of participants actually did wear face coverings throughout the event.  The Daily Mail claimed mask wearers were taunted.  Perhaps, but that was not the norm at this event.  Folks tended to respect others, especially mask wearing participants.  Departing the event (while Kennedy was speaking) I did hear, see and overhear several arrogant runners and walkers along the reflecting pool say rude, disrespectful, dismissive, or condescending remarks or facial expressions towards the gathering.  Yes, this is anecdotal, but it was not uncommon.  If the mainstream media chose to point out a single anecdotal incident to throw shade on the event, then, in the public interest I will share multiple anecdotal ones.

Comedian JP Sears (AwakenWithJP, 2.1 million YouTube subscribers) emceed the gathering with popular rapper Hi-Rez and Jimmy Levy performing their anti-vaccination songs and getting the crowd enthused for the arrival of medical practitioners who spoke including Robert Malone and Mary Bowden, the popular faces of resistance to the approach governments have taken in response to COVID including alternative treatments, palliative care and coercive methods to compel obedience.

Although the event was well organized and executed, speakers were informative, the emcee and musical performers entertaining, and objective observers likely to walk away with many questions about how politicians and the medical community have responded to COVID, it is unlikely to change many minds or make much of an impact beyond those already awake to what is happening all around them.  While Americans napped, Australians and Europeans have been fighting back against political oppression and persecution for more than a year with rallies.  With crowds habitually exceeding 500,000 turn out in Melbourne, Australia and millions across Europe each time, most Americans have been blissfully ignorant of this global phenomenon.  However, the rally to Defeat the Mandates may have just laid down a marker that at least some Americans have finally awoken to the now over year long global phenomenon of the Worldwide Rally for Freedom and Democracy.

Chris Wyatt

Chris Wyatt

Colonel (Ret) Chris Wyatt, the Principal & CEO of the Indaba Africa Group, is a retired U.S. Army Military Intelligence Officer and Foreign Area Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa and past Director of African Studies at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was previously the Senior Military Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the African Union (USAU). He has lived across the continent (eight countries) and working in over 30 African countries.

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