Opponents of vaccine requirements gather for ‘Defeat the Mandates’ rally in L.A.

Los Angeles, California April 10 2022-People rally against vaccine mandates at Grand Park Sunday.
People rally against vaccine mandates at Grand Park on Sunday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

More than a thousand people opposed to vaccine mandates rallied in Grand Park in front of Los Angeles City Hall on Sunday, waving American flags and holding signs with such messages as “Defeat the Mandates” and “Reclaim Your Divinity.” One musical act drew cheers while performing a song with the chorus “this is a war on religion.”

A slew of featured speakers was interspersed with musical acts as crowds listened to people decry COVID-19 vaccine requirements, Democratic politicians and mask mandates imposed during various time periods over the last two years.

A man wears a shirt reading "COVID fighters: Vitamin D3, zinc, sunshine & prayer."
People join hands and pray during a rally against vaccine mandates at Grand Park Sunday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Vendors hawked T-shirts with swipes at President Biden and his messages about vaccines, while volunteers walked around with petitions to recall L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón. Other volunteers handed out fliers for a variety of Republican politicians in California.

“I won’t put that mask on because all I can think of is anger,” said Judy Mikovits, a virologist who espouses a litany of debunked views about COVID-19 and ailments such as chronic fatigue.

“Do not stop hugging your neighbors,” she said, adding that people should not follow mask mandates in municipalities where they remain in place.

Amy Bohn, executive director of Protection of the Educational Rights of Kids, spoke up later about the need to remain vigilant against vaccine and mask mandates. Her group has helped coordinate several lawsuits that have attempted to stop the implementation of such requirements.

“You and I will never surrender until we win,” she said, as the crowd cheered.

Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 1 million people across the United States, including almost 90,000 Californians, have died due to complications from COVID-19, according to the online publication Our World in Data from the University of Oxford.


The streets around Grand Park were lined Sunday with big rigs that were part of the “People’s Convoy” that had traveled to Los Angeles for the rally after a nationwide tour. The group of about 100 truckers embarked in February from San Bernardino on the tour that took them to Washington, D.C., and back.

A man holds a cross wrapped in a U.S. flag.
A man holds a cross draped with the American flag during a rally against vaccine mandates at Grand Park.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Organizers of the convoy have repeated false claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill more people than they save and have promoted the unproven treatment of the virus using ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasitic infections.

They joined other protesters on Sunday to rally against what they call “an aggressive slate of COVID-19-related bills” being proposed in the state Legislature.

One of those bills, Assembly Bill 1993, would have required employees and independent contractors, in both the public and private sectors, to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. But the bill was ultimately shelved by Democratic lawmakers, who pointed to the easing of mandates and improved pandemic conditions.