Several hundred people took to Spokane City Hall and then the downtown streets Friday in a stand against Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate and alleged government overreach.
The freedom rally, “Be Brave or Be Enslaved,” was intended to hold political leaders accountable, according to a social media flyer.
About 150 people gathered around 5 p.m. on the edge of Riverfront Park across the street from Spokane City Hall, but that number grew to several hundred when the march started an hour later.
Many outside City Hall held signs, such as “No experimental vaccines,” denouncing the mandate and asking for medical freedom. Numerous American flags also waved in the crowd, as well as a few yellow Gadsden “Don’t tread on me” flags.
Former Spokane Valley City Councilor Caleb Collier, a Republican, said an intent to recall Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward was filed this week.
He said “our teams” are also working to replace Spokane Valley Mayor Ben Wick and Millwood Mayor Kevin Freeman. Wick and Freeman are both on the Spokane Regional Health District board and have been voting the “wrong way,” Collier told the crowd.
“Today, we are placing our representatives on notice,” Collier said. “You don’t govern us. We govern you.”
Former state Rep. Matt Shea, a Republican, also spoke at the rally.
“If you will not defend our right to life, our right to liberty, our right to property and our right to defend the same, our mandate is you will lose your job, not us,” Shea said of Woodward, Wick and Freeman.
A small group of counter-protesters were present and three could be seen escorted by police in handcuffs during the protest outside City Hall. It was unclear if they were arrested and a police officer at the scene did not provide details.
After the speakers, the protesters walked across the street to City Hall. Some wrote messages on the sidewalk with chalk.
They proceeded west on Spokane Falls Boulevard and then south on Monroe Street as police officers on bicycles rode nearby. Chants, like “no more masks, no more shots,” could be heard as people marched down the blocked-off streets.
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