Protesters rally in Missoula against vaccination mandates | State and Region

DAVID ERICKSON

About 20 people showed up at a rally on Reserve Street in Missoula on Sunday to protest vaccination mandates in Canada and the United States

The event included a speech by State Senator Theresa Manzella, a Republican from Hamilton.

The rally was sponsored by local groups Face of Freedom and Western Montana Liberty Coalition. The group, waving anti-vaccine signs, received numerous honks in support from the heavy Sunday traffic.

“I believe in freedom, personal choice, and informed consent,” Manzella said. “If people want to get vaccinated and if they are fully informed of the risk, that is certainly their decision to make.”

Compulsory vaccinations are banned in the United States of America, she added.

Manzella said that after moving from Michigan to Montana in 1991, she was “attacked from the left” for starting a horse rescue.

“I realized that the animal rights movement was just another arm of the left,” she said. “They seem to give animals more rights than people.”

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It was then that she decided she would abide by the US Constitution if she ran for public office, she said – which she did.

“You will hear me say regularly, the Bible and the Constitution are the solutions we need in this country,” she said.

She went on to say that she believes in limiting the powers of the federal government, including the power to enforce vaccination mandates.

Roger Mitchell of Stevensville, spokesman for Face of Freedom, said he organized the event to “show solidarity and collaboration with the convoy of truckers in Canada to protest against the totalitarian mandates established by the Canadian government”.

“Human freedoms and individual liberties have been decimated over the past two years due to opportunistic power grabs by overzealous governments around the world in response to the COVID-19 virus,” Mitchell said. “We stand with truckers to restore their freedoms and ours.”

Manzella has been “referred to as the ‘Donald Trump of Ravalli County’ because of his outspoken conservative views, Mitchell said.

The Freedom Convoy is a group of truckers and other protesters calling for an end to Canada’s vaccination mandates. They managed to briefly obstruct the Coutts-Sweetgrass port of entry between the United States and Canada last week, but it has since been reopened.

US Senator Steve Daines, R-Montana, also weighed in on the matter on Twitter.

“Trudeau pushes back against truckers who stand for freedom by calling them a ‘marginal minority’ that only reflects ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘tinfoil hats’ is shameful,” Daines wrote, referring to the Prime Minister Canadian Justin Trudeau. “The people of Montana and our neighbors to the north are tired of excessive warrants!”

Daines also criticized GoFundMe’s decision to remove the Freedom Convoy’s fundraising page. He encouraged Montana residents to get vaccinated, saying he’s “pro-vaccine but anti-mandate.”

There is currently no vaccine mandate in Montana. A law passed by the state legislature in 2021, HB 702, makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate based on vaccination status.

A recent opinion poll by Abacus Data found that 68% of Canadians felt they had “very little in common” with the protesters, while 32% said they “had a lot in common” with them. truckers, according to BBC News.

The Missoula City-County Health Department recently released statistics on the differences between unvaccinated and vaccinated residents.

For Missoula County residents who tested positive for COVID-19 during a 90-day period beginning October 16 of last year, unvaccinated people died of COVID-19 at a rate 15.45 times higher than their vaccinated peers.

“Nationally, the omicron variant appears to be slowing, but deaths are still on the rise. The virus kills about 2,600 Americans a day, on average,” said Kye Davenport, deputy public information officer for the Missoula County COVID-19 Response Team. “These deaths were almost entirely preventable. The overwhelming majority of people who die of COVID were unvaccinated.”