Vermonters protest pandemic protocols on Statehouse steps

Published: May. 15, 2021 at 7:25 PM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 5:27 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - People across the country took to the streets on Saturday to protest the pandemic and how federal and state governments have handled it so far.

In Montpelier, between 50 and 100 unmasked Vermonters met on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse for a rally called “COVID vs. the Constitution.”

Protesters are challenging the Biden and Scott administrations, claiming their COVID mandates violated their Constitutional rights and civil liberties.

“Discrimination against people who are unvaccinated will not be tolerated in Vermont,” said John Klar of the Vermont Liberty Network.

Protesters say they don’t believe the stay-at-home orders and quarantine guidelines were appropriate, given the fact that the virus has a 1% mortality rate in Vermont.

”There was never any reason to quarantine healthy people in America. Ever. To treat everybody like they have leprosy is beyond bizarre,” said Mark Coester.

The group also thinks it was governmental overreach to close businesses, houses of worship and schools, considering the low infection rates for young people.

”These kids— a lot of them in the inner cities— are behind to begin with. And then you take a year of their education away— they’re done,” said Tony Speranza. “There’s no way they’re going to get back on track. So it’s going to be a generational impact on our society and it may be permanent.”

Protesters also say vaccine passports are unconstitutional. One man is even suing Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont.

“What Phil Scott thinks he’s doing with that is really scary. I think he’s just taking orders. The idea that you segregate a population based on an experimental vaccine which, in some cases, is killing people— I mean, Phil, what are you doing?” said Jim Hogue. The group is also against vaccination requirements. Some people in the crowd said they have been vaccinated; others do not plan to get the shot.

Vermont’s governor has repeatedly responded to criticisms of his executive orders in the past.

“The skeptics are right. They can do what they want, but please don’t call it patriotic. Don’t pretend it’s about freedom, because real Patriots serve and sacrifice for all, whether they agree with them or not. Patriots also stand up and fight when our nation’s health and security is threatened,” said Scott back in November.

Scott says our country and way of life is being attacked by this virus, not the protections put in place.

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